Register a SA Forums Account here!

You can: log in, read the tech support FAQ, or request your lost password. This dumb message (and those ads) will appear on every screen until you register! Get rid of this crap by registering your own SA Forums Account and joining roughly 150,000 Goons, for the one-time price of $9.95! We charge money because it costs us money per month for bills, and since we don't believe in showing ads to our users, we try to make the money back through forum registrations.
  • Post
  • Reply
Apr 23, 2014


My other errands did not take so long, nor were they as difficult. Jasper agreed easily to my request. My mother was glowing with happy anticipation. What I’d wanted from Emmett no longer applied; it was clear he’d be with Rosalie, and she’d be somewhere far from here.

Well, it was a start. At least I’d gotten Rose to promise to try.

I even took a second to put on fresh clothes. Though the sleeveless shirt Alice had given me long ago had not brought about any of the miseries I’d feared—and had brought some pleasures I hadn’t anticipated—I still found it strangely distasteful. I was more comfortable in my usual clothes.

Wait, sleeveless? It was just described as a button-down when he first spent way too much time talking about it.


I passed Alice on my way out, leaning up against the pillar at the edge of the porch steps, near where Rosalie had waited before. Her grin was smug. Everything looks perfect for Bella’s visit. Just as I’d envisioned.

I wanted to point out that what she saw now was still just a vision, changeable as the first, but why bother?

Even her family is canonically resigned to letting her control them.


“You’re not taking Bella’s desires into account,” I reminded her.

She rolled her eyes. When has Bella ever said no to you?

It was an interesting point.

And a pretty scary one!


“Alice, I—”

She interrupted, already knowing my question.

See for yourself.

She pictured the intertwined ribbons of Bella’s future. Some were solid, some insubstantial, some disappearing into mist. They were more ordered now, no longer snarled into the messy knot. It was a relief that the most nightmarish of futures was entirely missing. But there, in the sturdiest thread, Bella of the bloodred eyes and diamond skin still held the most prominent place. The vision I was looking for was only part of the more nebulous lines, ribbons at the periphery. Bella at twenty, Bella at twenty-five. Flimsy-seeming visions, blurred around the edges.

Alice wrapped her arms tight around her legs. She didn’t need to read thoughts or the future to read the frustration in my eyes.

“That’s never going to happen.”

When have you ever said no to Bella?

I'm not kidding: keep this in mind when you reach the end. Edward knows Bella is destined to become a vampire this entire time and in denial.


I scowled at her on my way down the steps, and then I was running.

Only moments later I was in Bella’s room. I put Alice out of my mind and let the calm of her quiet slumber wash over me. It looked as if she hadn’t moved at all. And yet, my being away—even briefly—had changed things. I felt… unsure again. Rather than sitting beside her bed as I had before, I found myself back in the old rocking chair. I didn’t want to be presumptuous.

Right, you wouldn't want to invade her privacy or anything.


Charlie rose not too long after I’d returned, before the first hints of dawn had even begun to light the sky. I felt confident, due to his usual patterns and also his murky but cheerful thoughts, that he was going fishing again. Sure enough, after a quick peek into Bella’s room that found her more convincingly asleep than she’d been the night before, he tiptoed downstairs and started rummaging through his fishing gear under the stairs. He left the house just as the clouds outside took on a faint, gray luminosity. Again, I heard the rusty creaking of Bella’s truck’s hood. I flitted to the window to watch.

Charlie propped the hood on the strut and then replaced the battery cables that he’d left dangling to the sides. It wasn’t a particularly difficult problem to solve, but maybe he’d assumed that Bella wouldn’t even attempt to fix her truck in the dark. I wondered where he’d imagined she’d want to go.

Almost as if it was an abruptly out-of-character moment!


After a brief moment of loading rods and tackle into the back of his police cruiser, Charlie drove away. I returned to my former place and waited for Bella to wake.

More than an hour later, when the sun was fully up behind the thick blanket of clouds, Bella finally stirred. She threw one of her arms across her face, as if to block the light, then groaned quietly and rolled onto her side, pulling the pillow on top of her head.

Abruptly, she gasped, “Oh!” and lurched dizzily up into a sitting position. Her eyes struggled to focus, and it was obvious she was searching for something.

I’d never seen her like this, first thing in the morning. I wondered if her hair always looked this way, or if I’d been responsible for the extraordinary mussing.

Have you....forgotten how hair works?


“Your hair looks like a haystack, but I like it,” I informed her, and her eyes snapped to my position. Relief saturated her expression.

“Edward! You stayed!” Awkward from lying still for so long, she struggled to get to her feet, and then bounded across the room directly toward me, flinging herself into my arms. Suddenly my worries about presumption felt a little silly.

I caught her easily, steadying her on my lap. She seemed shocked by her own impulsiveness, and I laughed at her apologetic expression.

“Of course,” I told her.

Her heart thudded, sounding confused. She’d given it very little time to adjust from sleep to sprint. I rubbed her shoulders, hoping to calm it.

She let her head fall against my shoulder.

“I was sure it was a dream,” she whispered.

“You’re not that creative,” I teased her. I couldn’t remember dreaming myself, but from what I’d heard in other human brains, I rather thought it was not a very coherent or detailed thing.

Edward is canonically the dumbest person in the series.


Suddenly, Bella bolted upright. I dropped my hands out of the way as she scrambled to her feet.

“Charlie!” she choked.

“He left an hour ago—after reattaching your battery cables, I might add. I have to admit I was disappointed. Is that really all it would take to stop you, if you were determined to go?”

She rocked indecisively from her toes to her heels, her eyes flicking from my face to the door and then back again. A few seconds passed while she seemed to struggle with some decision.

“You’re not usually this confused in the morning,” I said, though it wasn’t actually something I would know. I never saw her until she’d had plenty of time to wake up. But I hoped that—as she usually did when I assumed something—she would contradict me, and then explain whatever dilemma faced her. I held out my arms to let her know she was welcome— so extremely welcome—to return to me if she wished.

She swayed toward me again, and then frowned. “I need another human minute.”

Of course. I was sure I would get better at this.



“I’ll wait,” I promised her. She’d asked me to stay, and until she told me
to go, I would be waiting for her.

This time there was no long delay. I could hear Bella banging cabinets
and slamming doors. She was in a rush today. I heard the brush tearing
through her hair and it made me wince.

Listening to every single detail in stereo of Bella taking her morning poo poo.


It was only a few moments until she rejoined me. Two high spots of color marked her cheeks, and her eyes were bright and eager. Still, she moved more carefully as she approached me this time, and paused, unsure, when her knees were an inch from mine. She seemed unconscious of the fact that she was warily wringing her hands.

I could only guess she was shy again, that she felt the same unease after being separated that I had felt returning to her room this morning. And—as I was sure was true for me as well—there was absolutely no need for it. I gathered her carefully into my arms. She curled up willingly against my chest, her legs draped over mine.

“Welcome back,” I murmured.

She sighed, contented. Her fingers traced down my right arm, slow and searching, and then back up again while I rocked lazily back and forth, moving to the rhythm of her breathing.

Her fingertips wandered across my shoulder, then paused at my collar. She leaned back, staring up at my face with a dismayed expression.

“You left?”

I grinned. “I could hardly leave in the clothes I came in—what would the neighbors think?”

"Hey, why hasn't that boy buttoned his shirt all day?"


Bella’s dissatisfaction only intensified. I didn’t want to explain the errands I’d had to run, so I said the one thing I was absolutely sure would distract her.

“You were very deeply asleep—I didn’t miss anything. The talking came earlier.”

As anticipated, Bella groaned.

“What did you hear?” she demanded.

It was impossible to hold on to my jocular mood. It felt as though my insides were melting into liquid joy as I told her the truth. “You said you loved me.”

Her eyes dropped, and she pressed her face against my shoulder, hiding.

“You knew that already,” she whispered. The heat of her breath saturated the cotton of my shirt.

“It was nice to hear, just the same,” I murmured into her hair.

“I love you.”

The words hadn’t lost their ability to thrill me. On the contrary, they were more overpowering now. It meant much to have her choose to say them, knowing I was listening.

I wanted even stronger words, words that could accurately describe what she had become to me. There was nothing left inside me that wasn’t entirely about her. I remembered our first conversation, remembered thinking then that I did not truly have a life. That was no longer the case.

You still don't have a life!


“You are my life now,” I whispered.

Though the sky was still full of thick clouds, the sun buried deep behind them, the room somehow filled with golden light. The air turned clearer, purer than the normal atmosphere. We rocked slowly, my arms around her, savoring the perfection.

As I’d thought so often in the past twenty-four hours, I knew I would be totally satisfied with every part of the universe if I never had to move again. The way her body was melted against mine, I thought she must feel the same.

Ah, but I had responsibilities. I needed to keep my unruly joy in check and be practical.

I held her just a little tighter for one second, then forced my arms to relax.

“Breakfast time?” I suggested.

Bella hesitated, perhaps as averse as I was to allowing any space to come between us. Then she twisted her torso away from me, leaning back so I could see her face.

Her eyes were round with terror. Her mouth fell open and her hands flew up to protect her throat.

I was so horrified by her obvious distress that I couldn’t process what was happening. My senses flailed out wildly around us like tentacles, looking for whatever danger threatened.

And then, before I could dive out the window with her in my arms and run for safety, her expression relaxed into a sly smile. I finally understood the connection between my words and her reaction, the joke she was making.

She giggled. “Kidding! And you said I couldn’t act.”

The precursor to all of her lies that everyone believes.


It took me half a second to compose myself. Relief made me feel weak, but the shock also left me agitated. “That wasn’t funny.”

“It was very funny,” she insisted, “and you know it.”

I couldn’t help but smile at her. I supposed if vampire jokes were going to become a thing with us, I could bear it. For her sake.

“Shall I rephrase? Breakfast time for the human.”

She smiled blithely. “Oh, okay.”

While I was willing to accept a future of bad jokes, I wasn’t entirely ready to let her off the hook for this one.

I moved with extreme care, but I didn’t move slowly. I hoped she would be as shocked as I’d been—though definitely not as frightened—as I folded her over my shoulder and darted from the room.

“Hey!” she complained, her voice bouncing with my movement, and I slowed slightly on the way down the stairs.

“Whoa,” she gasped as I turned her upright and set her down gently on a kitchen chair.

Having just suffered 8 g's of acceleration.


She looked up at me and smiled, clearly not shaken in the least. “What’s for breakfast?”

I frowned. I’d not had time to figure out the human food thing. Well, I knew the basics of what it should look like at least, so I could probably improvise.…

“Er…” I hesitated. “I’m not sure. What would you like?” Hopefully something straightforward.

Bella laughed at my confusion and stood up, stretching her arms over her head. “That’s all right,” she assured me. “I fend for myself pretty well.” She raised one eyebrow and added—with an arch smile—“Watch me hunt.”

It was enlightening and alluring to watch her in her element. I hadn’t seen her this confident and at ease before. It was clear she could have located everything she was looking for while wearing a blindfold. First a bowl, and then—stretching up on her toes—a box of off-brand Cheerios from a high shelf. Spinning to tug open the fridge while also pulling a spoon from a drawer she then nudged shut with her hip. It was only after she’d assembled everything on the table that she hesitated.

Finally, a thing Bella is good at: pouring cereal.


“Can I… get you anything?”

I rolled my eyes. “Just eat, Bella.”

She took one bite of the inedible-looking slush and chewed quickly, glancing up at me. After she’d swallowed, she asked, “What’s on the agenda for today?”

“Hmmm…” I’d meant to work up to this, but I would be lying to her now if I said I had no ideas. “What would you say to meeting my family?”

Her face blanched. Well, if her answer was no, that was that. I wondered how Alice had gotten it wrong.

“Are you afraid now?” My question sounded almost as if I wanted her to say yes. I supposed I had been waiting for something that would be too much.

Wow, what creative writing. I've never seen this before.


The answer was obvious in her eyes, but she said, “Yes,” in a low, tremulous voice, which I hadn’t expected. She never admitted when she was afraid. Or, at least, she never admitted when she was afraid of me.

“Don’t worry, I’ll protect you,” I said, smiling halfheartedly. I wasn’t trying to convince her. There were a million other things we could do together today that wouldn’t make her feel as though her life was on the line. But I wanted her to know that I would always put myself between her and any danger, meteor or monster.

She shook her head. “I’m not afraid of them. I’m afraid they won’t… like me. Won’t they be, well, surprised that you would bring someone”— she frowned—“like me home to meet them? Do they know that I know about them?”

A sudden pulse of unexpected anger rocked me. Maybe it was because she was right, about Rosalie at least. I hated that Bella referred to herself this way, as though there were something wrong with her, and not the other way around.

Oh, you all have plenty wrong with yourselves!


“Oh, they already know everything,” I said, and the anger was clear in my voice. I tried to smile, but I could tell it didn’t soften my tone. “They’d taken bets yesterday, you know, on whether I’d bring you back, though why anyone would bet against Alice, I can’t imagine.” I realized I was prejudicing her against them, but it was fair she should know. I tried to rein in my ire. “At any rate, we don’t have secrets in the family. It’s not really feasible, what with my mind reading and Alice seeing the future and all that.”

She smiled weakly. “And Jasper making you feel all warm and fuzzy about spilling your guts, don’t forget that.”

“You paid attention.”

“I’ve been known to do that every now and then.” She frowned as if concentrating, and then nodded. Almost as if she were accepting the invitation.

“So did Alice see me coming?”

Bella spoke in her matter-of-fact voice, as though our topic was quite mundane. I was surprised, though, because it sounded very much like she was agreeing to go to meet my family. As if Alice’s vision meant there wasn’t another choice.

Her total acceptance of Alice’s word as law touched my rawest nerve. I hated the possibility that even now, I might be ruining Bella’s life.

You're certainly ruining somebody's life with this...


“Something like that,” I admitted, and turned my face as if I were looking out the windows into the backyard. I didn’t want her to see how upset I was. I could feel her eyes on me, and doubted I was fooling her.

Forcing myself to fix the mood I’d created, I looked back to her and smiled as naturally as I could. “Is that any good?” I asked, gesturing to her cereal. “Honestly, it doesn’t look very appetizing.”

“Well, it’s no irritable grizzly.…” She trailed off when she processed my reaction, then focused on her food, eating quickly now.

She was thinking hard about something, too, staring into a middle distance as she chewed, but I doubted our thoughts were in sync at this moment.

I gazed out the windows again, letting her eat in peace. I looked at the small yard, remembering the sunny day I’d watched her there. Remembering the darkness of the clouds overtaking her. It was too easy to slip back into that despair, to second-guess all my good intentions and see them as nothing but selfishness.

That's because they are!


turned back to her in turmoil, only to find her watching me with fearless eyes. She trusted me, as she always had. I took a deep breath.

I would live up to her trust. I knew I could. When she looked at me that way, there was nothing I couldn’t do.

Well, so Alice would be proven right in this one minor, simple prophecy. That was no surprise. I wondered how much of Bella’s acceptance was just to please me? Probably the larger portion. There was something closely related that I very much wanted, but I worried that Bella would again agree just for my sake. Well, I could at least share my opinion, and see how she reacted.

“And you should introduce me to your father, too, I think,” I said casually.

She was taken aback. “He already knows you.”

“As your boyfriend, I mean.”

Her eyes narrowed. “Why?”

“Isn’t that customary?” I sounded at ease, but her resistance rattled me.

Charlie doesn't deserve what's about to happen to him.


“I don’t know,” she admitted. Her voice was quieter—less sure—when she continued. “That’s not necessary, you know. I don’t expect you to… I mean, you don’t have to pretend for me.”

Did she think this was an unwelcome chore I was undertaking for her sake alone? “I’m not pretending,” I promised.

She looked down at her breakfast, stirring the remnants of her cereal listlessly.

Perhaps it was better to just get to the no.

“Are you going to tell Charlie I’m your boyfriend or not?”

Still looking down, she asked softly, “Is that what you are?”

This was not the rejection I had feared. Clearly, I was misunderstanding something. Was it because I wasn’t human that she didn’t think Charlie should know about me? Or was it something else?

“It’s a loose interpretation of the word boy, I’ll admit.”

“I was under the impression that you were something more, actually,” she whispered, face still lowered as if she were talking to the table.

Her expression reminded me again of that charged conversation at lunch, how she’d thought our feelings were unequal, that mine were lesser. I couldn’t understand how asking to meet her father had led her to this train of thought. Unless… was it the impermanence of the word boyfriend? It was a very human, fleeting sort of concept. Truly, the word didn’t encompass even the smallest fraction of what I wanted to be to her, but it was the word Charlie would understand.

Telling him the full story would probably result in him calling the National Guard.


“Well, I don’t know if we need to give him all the gory details,” I answered softly. I reached out with one finger to raise her face so that I could see her eyes. “But he will need some explanation for why I’m around here so much. I don’t want Chief Swan getting a restraining order put on me.”

He should!


“Will you be?” she asked anxiously, ignoring my mild joke. “Will you really be here?”

“As long as you want me.” Until she asked me to leave, I was hers.

She almost glared at me, so intense was her gaze. “I’ll always want you. Forever.”

I heard Alice’s certainty again: When have you ever said no to Bella?

I heard Rosalie’s questions: What will you do when she asks you to change her? And when she begs?

Rosalie was right about one thing, though. When Bella said the word forever, it didn’t mean the same thing to her as it meant to me. For her, it meant merely a very long time. It meant she couldn’t see the end yet. How could anyone who had lived only seventeen years comprehend what fifty years meant, let alone eternity? She was human, not a frozen immortal. Within just a few years, she would reinvent herself many times over. Her priorities would shift as her world grew wider. The things she wanted now wouldn’t be the things she wanted then.

In the original read of this dialogue, I pointed out the inherent problems with immortality relevant to the vampires' indestructibility and the inherent non-permanence of the universe.

It turns out they don't even think of that. Just eternity. Like it's a metaphor for the Mormon afterlife.


face with my fingertips.

She stared back at me, trying to understand. “Does that make you sad?” she asked.

I didn’t know how to answer her. I just watched her face, feeling as if I could see it changing infinitesimally with each passing beat of her heart.

She never looked away. I wondered what she saw in my face. If she thought at all about how it would never change.

The feeling of sand slipping through the neck of an hourglass only intensified. I sighed. There wasn’t time to waste.

I glanced at her nearly empty bowl. “Are you finished?”

She stood up. “Yes.”

“Get dressed—I’ll wait here.”

Without a word, she complied.

I needed that minute alone. I wasn’t sure why I was lost in so many ominous thoughts. I needed to get myself in hand. I had to grasp every second of happiness I was allowed, all the more because those seconds were numbered. I knew I had a great capacity for ruining even the best moments with my wretched doubts and endless overthinking. What a waste, if I were only to have a few years, to spend any of them wallowing.

I sure hope that never happens!


Through the ceiling, I listened to the sound of Bella wrestling with her wardrobe. There was not as much commotion as two nights ago, when she was preparing for our trip to the meadow, but it was close. I hoped she wasn’t too stressed about how she would appear to my family. Alice and Esme already loved her unconditionally. The others wouldn’t notice her clothes—they would only see a human girl brave enough to visit a house full of vampires. Even Jasper would have to be impressed by that.

Yes, that's how to think about your roommate who can barely walk by a girl without feeling an impulse to eat her. "I'm sure he'll be impressed by how brave she is to jump out in front of you!"


I’d pulled myself together by the time she ran back down the stairs. Just focus on the day ahead. Focus on the next twelve hours at Bella’s side. Surely that was enough to keep me smiling.

“Okay, I’m decent,” she called as she took the stairs two at a time. I caught her as she nearly collided with me. She looked up with a wide grin, and all my lingering doubts crumbled away.

As I’d known she would be, she was wearing the blue blouse she’d worn in Port Angeles. My favorite, I supposed. She looked so pretty. And I liked the way she’d pulled her hair back. There was no way for her to hide behind it now.

You notice anything missing here?

The infamous long khaki skirt is now gone. Stephenie Meyer was successfully bullied into trying to retcon it out.


Impulsively, I wrapped my arms around her and held her close. I breathed in her fragrance, and smiled.

“Wrong again,” I teased. “You are utterly indecent. No one should look so tempting, it’s not fair.”

She pushed against my hold and I loosened my arms. She leaned back just far enough to read my face.

“Tempting how?” she asked, cautious. “I can change.…”

Last night, she’d asked me if I was attracted to her as a woman. Though I felt it was so obvious as to be ridiculous, maybe, somehow, she still didn’t understand.

“You are so absurd.” I laughed, and then kissed her forehead, letting the feel of her skin against my lips wash like a wave of electricity down the length of my body. “Shall I explain how you are tempting me?”

I've done better drunk with a girl I wasn't planning on sleeping with.

It worked.


Slowly, my fingers followed the length of her spine, discovering the curve at the small of her back, then resting atop the slope of her hip.

Though I’d meant to tease her, I was soon lost in the moment as well. My lips brushed against her temple, and I heard my breath speeding to match her heart. Her fingers trembled against my chest.

I only had to incline my head, and then her lips, so soft and warm, were just a hair’s breadth away from my own. Carefully, wary of the power of the alchemy, I touched my lips to hers.

While my whole body again overflowed with light and electricity, I waited for her reaction, ready to disengage if things got out of hand. She was more careful this time, holding herself nearly motionless. Even her trembling had stilled.

Moving with what caution I could muster in the face of what I was feeling, I pressed my lips more firmly against hers, savoring their soft yield. I was not as much in control of myself as I should have been. I let my lips fall open, wanting to feel her breath in my mouth.

Just at that moment, her legs seemed to give out, and she slid through my arms toward the floor.

I caught her at once, holding her upright. I held up her head with my left hand; it rocked, loose on her neck. Her eyes were closed and her lips white.

“Bella?” I shouted, panicking.


Nov 8, 2009

chitoryu12 posted:

Wait, sleeveless? It was just described as a button-down when he first spent way too much time talking about it.

Sleeveless button-downs exist. They're called vests. Seems like a Mormon enough article of fashion.

Jan 26, 2019


chitoryu12 posted:

Finally, a thing Bella is good at: pouring cereal.

An enlightening and alluring sight of Bella easily and confidently locating a bowl, a box of off-brand Cheerios, the fridge, a spoon and the table in her own kitchen.

A sight to behold. Simply marvelous.

Apr 23, 2014

Apr 23, 2014

This site had better come up with a better post autosave because I just accidentally hit the back button on my mouse and erased the rest of this loving chapter.

Dec 24, 2007

chitoryu12 posted:

This site had better come up with a better post autosave because I just accidentally hit the back button on my mouse and erased the rest of this loving chapter.

Write big posts in Word or something that counts characters and copy/paste them.

Jun 3, 2010

It really is a lovely hat

~then Bella went on interminably and Edward thought dark thoughts of sociopathy and blood while Rosalie watched in horror.~

Apr 23, 2014


She gasped in a loud breath and her eyelids fluttered. I realized that I hadn’t heard the sound of her breathing in a while—longer than was right.

Another ragged breath and her feet struggled to find the floor.

“You…,” she sighed with her eyes still half-closed, “made… me… faint.”

She had actually stopped breathing to kiss me. Probably in a misguided attempt to make things less difficult for me.

Meyer is not only retconning Edward's behavior, she's retconning Bella fainting from the passion of the kiss as her not breathing on purpose.


“What am I going to do with you?” I half growled. “Yesterday I kiss you, and you attack me! Today you pass out on me!”

She giggled, choking on her own laughter as her lungs tried to pull in the necessary oxygen. I was still supporting most of her weight.

“So much for being good at everything,” I muttered.

“That’s the problem. You’re too good.” She took a deep breath. “Far, far too good.”

“Do you feel sick?” At least her lips had not gone green. A delicate shade of pink was creeping into them as I watched.

“No,” she answered, her voice stronger. “That wasn’t the same kind of fainting at all. I don’t know what happened.… I think I forgot to breathe.”

I’d noticed.

Also, how fast does Meyer think you pass out from holding your breath?


“I can’t take you anywhere like this,” I grumbled.

She took another breath, and then straightened in my arms. She blinked fast five times, and lifted her chin into its most stubborn position.

“I’m fine.” Her voice was stronger, I had to concede. And the color had already come back into her face. “Your family is going to think I’m insane anyway, what’s the difference?”

I examined her carefully. Her breathing had evened out. Her heart sounded stronger than it had a moment ago. She seemed to be supporting her own weight without difficulty. The roses in her cheeks were getting brighter with every passing second, set off by the vivid blue of her blouse.

“I’m very partial to that color with your skin,” I told her. That made her blush even more intensely.


“Look,” she said, interrupting my scrutiny. “I’m trying really hard not to think about what I’m about to do, so can we go already?”

Her voice was back to normal strength as well.

“And you’re worried, not because you’re headed to meet a houseful of vampires, but because you think those vampires won’t approve of you, correct?”

She grinned. “That’s right.”

I shook my head. “You’re incredible.”

Her smile widened. She took my hand and pulled me to the door. I decided it was better to pretend that the driving arrangements were already settled than to ask her about them. I let her lead the way to her truck, and then deftly opened the passenger door for her. She didn’t object in any way; she didn’t even glare at me. I felt this was a promising sign.

In true manly fashion, choosing for her and expecting her to go along with it.


While I drove, she sat up alertly and stared out her window, watching the houses race past us. I could see that she was nervous, but I also guessed that she was curious. Once it was clear we were not going to stop at any given house, she lost all interest in it and looked to the next. I wondered how she pictured my home.

As we left the town behind us, she seemed to get more apprehensive. She glanced at me a few times, as if she wanted to ask a question, but when she caught me looking at her, she turned back to the window quickly, her ponytail whipping out behind her. Her toes started tapping against the floor of the truck cab, though I hadn’t put the radio on.

When I turned onto the drive, she sat up straighter, and then her knee was bouncing in time with her toes. Her fingers pressed so tightly against the window frame that their tips turned white.

As the drive wound on and on, she started to frown. And truly, it did look like we were headed somewhere just as remote and uninhabited as the meadow. The stress mark appeared between her brows.

It would take no effort to rework this passage slightly for a serial killer book.


I reached out and brushed her shoulder, and she gave me a strained smile before turning to the window again.

Finally, the drive broke through the last fringe of the forest and onto the lawn. Still in the shade of the big cedars, it didn’t feel like an abrupt change.

It was odd to look at the familiar house and try to imagine how it would appear to new eyes. Esme had excellent taste, so I knew the house was objectively beautiful. But would Bella see a structure that was trapped in time, that belonged to another era, yet was clearly new and strong? As if we’d traveled backward in time to find it, rather than it aging forward to us?

....what the gently caress are you talking about?


“Wow,” she breathed.

I cut the engine and the following silence strengthened the impression that we could be in another part of history.

“You like it?” I asked.

She glanced at me from the corner of her eye, then looked back to the house. “It… has a certain charm.”

I laughed and tweaked her ponytail, then slid out of the car. Less than a second passed, and I was holding her door open for her.


“Not even a little bit.” She laughed, breathless. “Let’s go.”

She ran a hand over her hair, searching for tangles.

“You look lovely,” I assured her, and took her hand.

Her palm was moist, and not as warm as usual. I rubbed the back of her hand with my thumb, trying to communicate without words that she was perfectly safe, and everything would be fine.

Knees weak, palms sweaty...


She started to slow as we walked up the porch steps, and her hand was trembling.

Hesitating would only prolong her unease. I opened the door, already knowing exactly what was on the other side.

My parents were just where their thoughts had placed them in my mind’s eye, and just as Alice had envisioned them. They stood back half a dozen paces from the door, giving Bella some breathing space. Esme was as nervous as Bella seemed to be, though for her, that meant perfect stillness rather than Bella’s agitation. Carlisle’s hand rested on the small of her back in a comforting fashion. He was used to interacting with humans casually, but Esme was shy. It was rare that she ventured out alone to mix with the mortal world. A true homebody, she was quite happy to let the rest of us bring the world back to her as needed.

Confirming that Esme's personality is "does nothing important."


Bella’s eyes darted around the room, taking it in. She was slightly behind me, as if using my body as a shield. I couldn’t help but feel relaxed inside my home, though I knew it was the opposite for her. I squeezed her hand.

Carlisle smiled warmly at Bella, and Esme quickly followed suit.

“Carlisle, Esme, this is Bella.” I wondered whether Bella heard the note of pride in my voice as I introduced her.

Carlisle moved forward with deliberate slowness. He held out his hand, a little tentative.

“You’re very welcome, Bella.”

Perhaps because she already knew Carlisle, Bella seemed suddenly more comfortable. Looking confident, she stepped forward to meet his advance— while not untangling her fingers from mine—and shook his offered hand without even a wince at the chill. Of course, she was surely used to that by now.

“It’s nice to see you again, Dr. Cullen,” she said, sounding like she really meant it.

Such a brave girl, Esme thought. Oh, she’s darling.

"And only biologically 9 years younger than me!"


“Please, call me Carlisle.”

Bella beamed. “Carlisle,” she repeated.

Esme joined Carlisle then, moving in the same slow, careful way. She placed one hand on Carlisle’s arm, and extended the other. Bella took it without hesitation, smiling at my mother.

“It’s very nice to know you,” Esme said, affection radiating from her smile.

“Thank you,” Bella said. “I’m glad to meet you, too.”

Though the words were conventional enough on both sides, they both spoke with such earnestness that the exchange carried a deeper significance.

I adore her, Edward! Thank you for bringing her to see me!

I could only smile at Esme’s enthusiasm.

“Where are Alice and Jasper?” I asked, but it was more of a prompt. I could hear them waiting at the top of the stairs, Alice timing her perfect entrance.

You scripted this?


My question seemed to be what she was waiting for. “Hey, Edward!” she called as she darted into view. Then she ran—really ran, not in a human way—down the steps and hurtled to a stop just inches from Bella. Carlisle, Esme, and I all froze in surprise, but Bella didn’t so much as flinch, even when Alice sprang forward to kiss her cheek.

I shot her a warning look, but Alice wasn’t paying any attention to me. She was living halfway between this moment and a thousand future moments, exulting in finally getting to begin her friendship. Her feelings were very sweet, but I couldn’t enjoy them. More than half of her yet-to-be memories featured the white, lifeless Bella, so flawless and so cold.

Alice was oblivious to my reaction, focused on Bella.

“You do smell nice,” she commented. “I never noticed before.”

Bella blushed and all three of them looked away.

This comes off even gayer now.


I tried to think of a way to ease the awkwardness, but then, like magic, there was no awkwardness. I was perfectly comfortable, and I could feel Bella’s tension melt out of her body.

Jasper followed Alice down the stairs, not racing but not moving cautiously like Carlisle and Esme, either. There was no need for him to put on a show. Everything he did seemed natural and right.

In truth, he was laying it on a little thick.

I gave him a sardonic look, and he grinned at me, then stopped by the newel post, leaving what might have felt like an odd distance between himself and the rest of us, but of course it couldn’t feel odd if he didn’t want it to.

This isn't how Jasper's appearance was written originally. He was very awkward, with no roguish grin. Meyer sounds like she's (subconsciously or otherwise) influencing her characters with their actors.


“Hello, Bella.”

“Hello, Jasper.” She smiled easily, then looked at Esme and Carlisle. “It’s nice to meet you all—you have a very beautiful home.”

“Thank you,” Esme answered. “We’re so glad that you came.”

She’s perfect.

Bella glanced at the stairs again, expectant. But I knew there would not be any more introductions this morning.

Esme understood the look as well.

I’m sorry. She wasn’t ready. Emmett’s trying to calm her down.

Rosalie has already punched five trees.


Should I make excuses for Rosalie? Before I could decide what to say,
Carlisle caught my attention.


I looked at him automatically. His intensity contrasted with the easy mood Jasper had created.

Alice saw some visitors. Strangers. At the rate they’re moving, they’ll find us tomorrow night. I thought you should know immediately.

I nodded once, my lips pressing into a thin line. What miserable timing. Well, I supposed the silver lining was that I was now free to explain to Bella why I was kidnapping her. She would understand. Charlie wouldn’t. I’d have to figure out the safest, least disruptive plan. Or rather, we would. She would certainly have opinions.

Not always the best ones!


I looked to Alice for a visual clarification, but she was thinking about the weather.

“Do you play?” Esme asked, and I glanced over to see that Bella was eyeing my piano.

Bella shook her head. “Not at all. But it’s so beautiful. Is it yours?”

Esme laughed. “No. Edward didn’t tell you he was musical?”

Bella gave me the strangest look, as if this news was irritating. I wondered why. Did she have a yet undiscovered prejudice against pianists?

That's the first thing you think?


“No,” she answered Esme. “I should have known, I guess.”

What does she mean, Edward? Esme wondered, as if I would know the answer. Luckily, her expression was confused enough to compel Bella to explain.

“Edward can do everything,” Bella clarified. “Right?”

Carlisle repressed his amusement, but Jasper laughed out loud. Alice was watching the conversation that would happen twenty seconds from now; this was old news to her.

Alice already psychically saw that Jasper would rib Edward for not even being able to masturbate and told him to stop.


Esme gave me her best disapproving-mother look. “I hope you haven’t been showing off—it’s rude.”

“Just a bit,” I admitted, laughing, too.

He looks so happy, Esme thought. I’ve never seen him this way. Thank goodness he found her at last.

“He’s been too modest, actually,” Bella disagreed. Her eyes flickered to the piano again.

“Well, play for her,” Esme encouraged.

I shot my mother a betrayed look. “You just said showing off was rude.”

Esme was holding back a laugh of her own. “There are exceptions to every rule.”

If she’s not totally hooked yet, that should do it.

Piano is her own personal brand of heroin!


I stared back, deadpan.

“I’d like to hear you play,” Bella volunteered.

“It’s settled then.” Esme put her hand on my shoulder and nudged me toward the piano.

Fine, if that’s what they wanted. I kept Bella’s hand so she would have to join me. This was her idea, after all.

I’d never been self-conscious about my music before—there was never anybody but family or close friends around to hear me, and besides Esme, most of them barely seemed to notice I was playing. So this was a new feeling. Maybe if Esme hadn’t mentioned showing off before, it wouldn’t have felt so forced.

I sat on the bench off-center, pulling Bella down to sit beside me. She smiled at me eagerly. I stared back at her, frowning, hoping she recognized that I was only doing this because she’d asked.

How is he more bratty in this version?


I chose Esme’s song—it was a joyful song, a triumphant song, suited to the day’s mood.

As I began, I watched Bella’s reaction from the corner of my eye. I didn’t need to look at the keys, but I didn’t want to make her feel scrutinized.

After just the first few measures, her mouth fell open.

Jasper laughed again; this time Alice joined him. Bella stiffened, but didn’t turn. Her eyes narrowed, her gaze never leaving my fingers, chasing them as they moved across the keys.

I heard Alice skip to the stairs at the same time that Carlisle thought, Well, that’s probably enough of us for now. We don’t want to overwhelm her.

"We're far too interesting and would steal the scene from these two clowns."


Esme was disappointed, but she followed Alice upstairs. They would all pretend that this was just a normal day, that it was nothing momentous to have a human inside our house. One by one, they flitted away to the tasks they would have been pursuing if I hadn’t brought the mortal home.

Bella was still entirely focused on the motion of my hands, but I thought she was not… as eager as before? Her brows were pressing down over her eyes. I didn’t understand her expression.

I tried to cheer her, turning my head to catch her attention and winking once. That usually made her smile.

“Do you like it?” I asked.

Her head tilted to the side and then something seemed to occur to her. Her eyes grew huge again.

You wrote this?” she said, her tone strangely accusatory.

I nodded and added, “It’s Esme’s favorite,” like an apology, though I wasn’t sure what I was trying to excuse.

Bella stared at me, strangely forlorn. Her eyes closed, and her head rocked slowly from side to side.

“What’s wrong?” I implored.

She opened her eyes and finally smiled, but it wasn’t a happy smile.

“I’m feeling extremely insignificant,” she admitted.

You are!


I was stunned for a moment. I supposed Esme’s earlier words about showing off were the crux of the matter. Her idea that my music would win over whichever corners of Bella’s heart remained ambivalent was obviously misguided.

How to explain that all these things I could do, things that came with such ridiculous ease because of what I was, were entirely meaningless? They didn’t make me special or superior. How to show her that everything I was had never been enough to make me worthy of her? That she was the lofty goal I’d been trying to reach for so long?

This is another interesting concept that Meyer can't do justice: an incredibly powerful supernatural being that loses all interest in life because it's simply too easy and otherwise difficult skills lose any significance to them. Unable to feel pride in beating human achievements, what do they do?


I could only think of one way. I created a simple bridge and shifted into a new song. She watched my expression now, expecting me to respond. I waited until I was through the main structure of the melody, hoping she would recognize it.

“You inspired this one,” I murmured.

Could she feel how this music came from the very core of my being? And that my core, along with everything else I was, centered wholly on her?

For a few moments, I let the notes of the song fill in the spaces that my words never quite could. The melody expanded as I played, drifting away from its former minor key, reaching now for a happier resolution.

She actually learned what keys are!


I thought I should allay her earlier fears. “They like you, you know. Esme especially.” Bella had probably been able to see that herself.

She twisted to peek over her shoulder. “Where did they go?”

“Very subtly giving us some privacy, I suppose.”

They like me,” she groaned. “But Rosalie and Emmett…”

I shook my head impatiently. “Don’t worry about Rosalie. She’ll come around.”

Abruptly and insanely.


She pursed her lips, unconvinced. “Emmett?”

“Well, he thinks I’m a lunatic, it’s true.” I laughed once. “But he doesn’t have a problem with you. He’s trying to reason with Rosalie.”

The corners of her lips pulled down. “What is it that upsets her?”

I took a breath and exhaled slowly—stalling. I wanted to say only the most necessary parts, and say them in the least upsetting way.

“Rosalie struggles the most with… with what we are,” I explained. “It’s hard for her to have someone on the outside know the truth. And she’s a little jealous.”

Rosalie is jealous of me?” She looked as though she wasn’t sure whether I was joking.

I shrugged. “You’re human. She wishes that she were, too.”

Much like how a mountain is just a pile of dirt.


“Oh!” That revelation stunned her for a moment. But then the frown returned. “Even Jasper, though…”

The sense that everything was perfectly natural and easy had faded as soon as Jasper had stopped concentrating on us. I imagined she was remembering his introduction without that influence, and seeing for the first time the strangeness of the wide space he had left between them.

“That’s really my fault. I told you he was the most recent to try our way of life. I warned him to keep his distance.”

I’d said the words lightly, but after a second, Bella shivered.

“Esme and Carlisle?” she asked quickly, as if eager for a new subject.

“Are happy to see me happy. Actually, Esme wouldn’t care if you had a third eye and webbed feet. All this time she’s been worried about me, afraid that there was something missing from my essential makeup, that I was too young when Carlisle changed me.… She’s ecstatic. Every time I touch you, she just about chokes with satisfaction.”

This is now just reading as a story where a Mormon woman is afraid her son is gay until he brings a girl home.


She pursed her lips. “Alice seems very… enthusiastic.”

I tried to keep my composure, but I heard the edge of ice in my answer. “Alice has her own way of looking at things.”

Her aspect had been tense for most of our exchange, but suddenly she was grinning. “And you’re not going to explain that, are you?”

Of course she’d noticed all my strange reactions to any mention of Alice; I’d not been very subtle. At least she was smiling now, pleased to catch me out. I was sure she had no idea why I was irritated with Alice. Just letting me know that she knew that I was keeping something from her seemed to be enough for her now. I didn’t respond, but I didn’t think she was expecting me to.

So is Edward confident that Bella is what he's been looking for or angry that Alice is pushing everything to get them together? You can't have it both ways.


“So what was Carlisle telling you before?” she asked.

I frowned. “You noticed that, did you?” Well, I knew I needed to tell her this.

“Of course.”

I thought of that little shudder when I’d explained about Jasper.… I hated to alarm her again, but she should be frightened.

“He wanted to tell me some news,” I admitted. “He didn’t know if it was something I would share with you.”

She sat up straighter, alert. “Will you?”

“I have to, because I’m going to be a little… overbearingly protective over the next few days—or weeks—and I wouldn’t want you to think I’m naturally a tyrant.”



My trivializing did not put her at ease.

“What’s wrong?” she demanded.

“Nothing’s wrong, exactly. Alice just sees some visitors coming soon. They know we’re here, and they’re curious.”

She repeated my word in a whisper. “Visitors?”

“Yes… well, they aren’t like us, of course—in their hunting habits, I mean. They probably won’t come into town at all, but I’m certainly not going to let you out of my sight till they’re gone.”

She shuddered so hard I could feel the motion in the bench beneath us.

“Finally, a rational response!” I muttered. I thought of all the horrifying things she’d accepted about me without a tremor. Only other vampires were scary, apparently. “I was beginning to think you had no sense of self-preservation at all.”

She doesn't!


She ignored that, and started to watch my hands moving over the keys again. After a few seconds, she took a deep breath and slowly exhaled. Had she processed another waking nightmare so easily?

It seemed so. She examined the room now, her head turning slowly as she scrutinized my home. I could imagine what she was thinking.

“Not what you expected, is it?” I guessed.

She was still cataloguing with her eyes. “No.”

"Why the hell is it Victorian on the outside but modern on the inside? Why did you replace a whole wall with glass?"


I wondered what had surprised her most: the light colors, the vast openness of the space, the wall of windows? It was all very carefully designed—by Esme—not to feel like some kind of fortress or asylum.

I could hazard what a normal human would have predicted. “No coffins, no piled skulls in the corners; I don’t even think we have cobwebs… what a disappointment this must be for you.”

She didn’t react to my joke. “It’s so light… so open.”

“It’s the one place we never have to hide.”

While I’d been focused on her, the song I was playing had strayed back to its roots. I found myself in the middle of the bleakest moment—the moment when the obvious truth was unavoidable: Bella was perfect as she was. Any interference from my world was a tragedy.

It was too late to save the song. I let it end as it had before, with that heartbreak.

Sometimes it was so easy to believe that Bella and I were right together. In the moment, when impulsivity led, and everything came so naturally… I could believe. But whenever I looked at it logically, without allowing emotion to trump reason, it was clear that I could only hurt her.

“Thank you,” she whispered.

Her eyes were swimming in tears. While I watched, she quickly wiped her fingers across her lower lids, rubbing the moisture away.

Oh boy, here we go.


This was the second time I’d seen Bella cry. The first time, I’d hurt her. Not intentionally, but still, by implying we could never be together, I’d caused her pain.

Now she cried because the music I’d created for her had touched her. Tears caused by pleasure. I wondered how much of this unspoken language she had understood.

One tear still glistened in the corner of her left eye, shining in the brightness of the room. A tiny, clear piece of her, an ephemeral diamond. Acting on some strange instinct, I reached out to catch it with my fingertip. Round on my skin, it sparkled as my hand moved. I swiftly touched my finger to my tongue, tasting her tear, absorbing this minute particle of her.

Here it is. The tear eating. We finally get to learn why Edward did this.


Carlisle had spent many years attempting to understand our immortal anatomy; it was a difficult task, based mostly on assumption and observation. Vampire cadavers were not available for study.

His best interpretation of our life systems was that our internal workings must be microscopically porous. Though we could swallow anything, only blood was accepted by our bodies. That blood was absorbed into our muscles and provided fuel. When the fuel was depleted, our thirst intensified to encourage us to replenish our supply. Nothing besides blood seemed to move through us at all.

I swallowed Bella’s tear. Perhaps it would never leave my body. After she left me, after all the lonely years had passed, maybe I would always have this piece of her inside me.

Stephenie Meyer wrote this. She put her fingers on a keyboard and came up with this and thought it was romantic and poignant and she published it and she's rich now.


She stared at me curiously, but I had no sane way to explain. Instead, I returned to her earlier curiosity.

I can't loving believe I just read this.


“Do you want to see the rest of the house?” I offered.

“No coffins?” she double-checked.

I laughed and stood, pulling her up from the piano bench. “No coffins.”

I led her upstairs to the second floor; she’d seen most of the first, all but the unused kitchen and the dining room were visible from the front door. As we climbed, her interest was evident. She studied everything—the railing, the pale wood floors, the picture-frame paneling that lined the hallway at the top. It was like she was preparing for an exam. I named the owner of each room we passed, and she nodded after each designation, ready for the quiz.

I wonder if I could remake this in The Sims.


I was about to round the corner and follow the next flight of stairs up, but Bella stopped suddenly. I looked to see what she was staring at so bemusedly. Ah.

“You can laugh,” I said. “It is sort of ironic.”

She didn’t laugh. She stretched out her hand as if she wished to touch the thick oak cross that hung there, dark and somber against the lighter wood behind it, but her fingertips didn’t make contact.

“It must be very old,” Bella murmured.

I shrugged. “Early sixteen thirties, more or less.”

She stared up at me, her head tilted to one side. “Why do you keep this here?”

“Nostalgia. It belonged to Carlisle’s father.”

“He collected antiques?” she suggested, sounding as if she already knew her guess was wrong.

“No,” I answered. “He carved this himself. It hung on the wall above the pulpit in the vicarage where he preached.”

Bella looked up at the cross, her stare intense. She didn’t move for so long that I started to get anxious again.

“Are you all right?” I murmured.

“How old is Carlisle?” she shot back.

I sighed, trying to quell the old panic. Would this story be the one that would be too much? I scrutinized every minute muscle twitch in her face as I explained.

Bro, you just ate her loving tear to keep it inside your body forever. If she can withstand that, she can withstand vampires being old.


“He just celebrated his three hundred and sixty-second birthday.” Or close enough. Carlisle had chosen a day for Esme’s sake, but it was only his best guess. “Carlisle was born in London, in the sixteen forties, he believes. Time wasn’t marked as accurately then, for the common people anyway. It was just before Cromwell’s rule, though. He was the only son of an Anglican pastor. His mother died giving birth to him. His father was an intolerant man. As the Protestants came into power, he was enthusiastic in his persecution of Roman Catholics and other religions. He also believed very strongly in the reality of evil. He led hunts for witches, werewolves… and vampires.”

She’d been keeping up a good charade for the most part, almost as if she were dissociating from the facts. But when I spoke the word vampires, her shoulders stiffened and she held her breath for an extra second.

“They burned a lot of innocent people. Of course the real creatures that he sought were not so easy to catch.” This still haunted Carlisle—the innocents his father had murdered. And even more, those murders Carlisle had been unwillingly involved in. I was glad for his sake that the memories were blurred and always fading more.

This is the main motivation for Carlisle: penance for all the innocents he killed as a human.

Of course, he still loans his cars out to other vampires to help them eat people. So whatever.


I knew the stories of Carlisle’s human years as well as I knew my own. As I described his ill-fated discovery of an ancient London coven, I wondered if this would sound real to her at all. This was irrelevant history, set in a country she’d never seen, separated from her own existence by so many years that she had no context for it.

She seemed spellbound, though, as I described the attack that had infected Carlisle and killed his associates, carefully leaving out the details I’d rather she didn’t dwell on. When the vampire, driven by thirst, had wheeled around and fallen on his pursuers, he’d only slashed Carlisle twice with his venom-covered teeth: once across the palm of his outstretched hand, and once through his bicep. It had been a melee, the vampire struggling to quickly subdue four men before the rest of the mob got too close. After the fact, Carlisle had theorized that the vampire was hoping to drain them all, but he chose self-preservation over a more bounteous meal, grabbing the men he could carry and running. It was not self-preservation from the mob, of course; those fifty men with their crude weapons were no more dangerous to him than a kaleidoscope of butterflies. However, the Volturi were less than a thousand miles away. Their laws had been established for a millennium by this point, and their demand that every immortal exercise discretion for the benefit of all was universally accepted. The story of a vampire sighting in London, attested to by fifty witnesses with drained corpses as proof, would not have gone over well in Volterra.

Write this story instead!


The nature of Carlisle’s wounds was unfortunate. The gash in his hand was far from any major vessels, the slash in his arm had missed both the brachial artery and the basilic vein. This meant a much slower spread of the venom, and a longer transition period. As the conversion from mortal to immortal was the most painful thing any of us had ever experienced, an extended version was not ideal, to say the least.

I’d known the pain of that same extended version. Carlisle had been… unsure when he decided to change me into his first companion. He’d spent a great deal of time with other, more experienced vampires—the Volturi included—and he knew that a better placed bite would result in a quicker conversion. However, he’d never found another vampire like himself. All the others were obsessed with blood and power. No one else craved a kinder, more familial life as he did. He wondered whether his slow conversion and the weak entry points of his infection had been somehow responsible for the difference. So when creating his first son, he chose to imitate his own wounds. He’d always felt bad about that, especially as he later found that the method of conversion actually had no bearing on the personality and desires of the new immortal.

When I did the original book, I mentioned how weird it was that Bella suggested that Edward seemed to be "keeping something from her" during this story because it was never brought up again. This is the revelation: Carlisle had intentionally given Edward a very slow and painful transformation in the hopes that it would temper his bloodlust, and is still regretful about it. I still don't know why Meyer included that little hint and then never expounded on it until 15 years later. Did she just forget?


He hadn’t had time to experiment when he found Esme. She was much closer to death than I had been. To save her, it had been imperative to get as much venom into her system as close to her heart as possible. All in all, a much more frenzied effort than it had been with me—and yet Esme was the gentlest of us all.

And Carlisle the strongest. I now told Bella what I could about his extraordinarily disciplined conversion. I found myself editing things that perhaps I shouldn’t have, but I didn’t want to dwell on Carlisle’s excruciating pain. Maybe, given her obvious curiosity about the process, it would have been a good thing to describe; perhaps it would have deterred her from wanting to know more.



“It was over then,” I explained, “and he realized what he had become.”

All the while, lost in my own thoughts as I told the familiar tale, I’d been observing her reactions. For the most part, she kept the same expression fixed on her face; I think she meant it to look like attentive interest, totally devoid of any unnecessary emotional recoils. However, she held herself too stiffly for her ploy to be believable. Her curiosity was real, but I wanted to know what she really thought, not what she wanted me to think she thought.

“How are you feeling?” I asked.

“I’m fine,” she answered automatically. But her mask slipped a little bit. Still, all I could read on her face was a desire to know more. So this story hadn’t been enough to frighten her away.

“I expect you have a few more questions for me.”

She grinned, totally self-possessed, seemingly fearless. “A few.”

I smiled back. “Come on, then, I’ll show you.”

Dec 24, 2007

chitoryu12 posted:

Stephenie Meyer wrote this. She put her fingers on a keyboard and came up with this and thought it was romantic and poignant and she published it and she's rich now.. If she

Cool cool cool. Real good writing there Steffi.

Apr 23, 2014

Chapter 20: Carlisle


We walked back along the hall to Carlisle's office. I paused at the door, waiting for his invitation.

“Come in,” Carlisle said.

I led her inside and watched her animatedly examine this new room. It was darker than the rest of the house; the deep mahogany wood reminded him of his earliest home. Her eyes ran across the rows and rows of books. I knew her well enough to see that the sight of so many books in one room was something of a dream to her.

How would Carlisle be able to tell if one room was darker than another?


Carlisle marked the page in the one he was reading and then stood to welcome us.

“What can I do for you?” he asked.

Of course, he’d heard all our conversation in the hall, and he knew we were here for the next installment. He wasn’t bothered by my sharing his story; he didn’t seem surprised that I would tell her everything.

“I wanted to show Bella some of our history. Well, your history, actually.”

“We didn’t mean to disturb you,” Bella said quietly.

“Not at all,” Carlisle assured her. “Where are you going to start?”

“The Waggoner,” I said.

I put one hand on her shoulder and turned her gently to face the wall behind us. I heard her heartbeat react to my touch, and then Carlisle’s almost silent laugh at her reaction.

Interesting, he thought.

I watched Bella’s eyes widen as she took in the gallery wall of Carlisle’s office. I could imagine the way it might disorient a person seeing it for the first time. There were seventy-three works, in all sizes, mediums, and colors, crammed together like a wall-sized puzzle with only rectangular pieces. Her gaze couldn’t find anywhere to settle.

I took her hand and led her to the beginning. Carlisle followed. As on the page of a book, the story began at the far left. It was not a showy piece, monochromatic and maplike. In fact, it was part of a map, hand-painted by an amateur cartographer, one of the very few originals that had survived the centuries.

Here's one from 1653!


Her brows furrowed.

“London in the sixteen fifties,” I explained.

“The London of my youth,” Carlisle added from a few feet behind us. Bella flinched, surprised by his closeness. Of course she wouldn’t have heard his movements. I squeezed her hand, trying to reassure her. This house was a strange place for her to be, but nothing here would hurt her.

“Will you tell the story?” I asked him, and Bella turned to see what he would say.

I’m sorry, I wish I could.

"My presence is so much better than yours, it would be distracting."


He smiled at Bella and spoke aloud to her. “I would, but I’m actually running a bit late. The hospital called this morning—Dr. Snow is taking a sick day. Besides”—he looked to me—“you know the stories as well as I do.”

Carlisle smiled warmly at Bella as he exited. Once he had gone, she turned back to examine the small painting again.

“What happened then?” she asked after a moment. “When he realized what had happened to him?”

Automatically, I looked to a larger painting, one column over and one row down. It wasn’t a cheerful image: a gloomy, deserted landscape, a sky thick with oppressive clouds, colors that seemed to suggest the sun would never return. Carlisle had seen this piece through the window of a minor castle in Scotland. It so perfectly reminded him of his life at its darkest point that he’d wanted to keep it, though the old memory was painful. To him, the existence of this devastated landscape meant that someone else had once understood.

Did he steal it?


“When he knew what he had become, he rebelled against it. He tried to destroy himself. But that’s not easily done.”

“How?” she gasped.

I kept my eyes on the evocative emptiness of the painting as I described Carlisle’s suicide attempts.

“He jumped from great heights. He tried to drown himself in the ocean… but he was young to the new life, and very strong. It is amazing that he was able to resist… feeding”—I glanced quickly at her but she was staring at the painting—“while he was still so new. The instinct is more powerful then, it takes over everything. But he was so repelled by himself that he had the strength to try to kill himself with starvation.”

“Is that possible?” she whispered.

“No, there are very few ways we can be killed.”

She opened her mouth to ask the most obvious follow-up, but I spoke quickly to distract her.

Gotta keep her from figuring out a way to off herself on impulse after her transformation.


“So he grew very hungry, and eventually weak. He strayed as far as he could from the human populace, recognizing that his willpower was weakening, too. For months he wandered by night, seeking the loneliest places, loathing himself.…”

I described the night he found another way to live, the compromise of animal blood, and his recovery to a rational creature. Then leaving for the continent—

“He swam to France?” she interrupted, disbelieving.

“People swim the Channel all the time, Bella,” I pointed out.

“That’s true, I guess. It just sounded funny in that context. Go on.”

“Swimming is easy for us—”

“Everything is easy for you,” she complained.

I smiled at her, waiting to be sure she was done.

She frowned. “I won’t interrupt again, I promise.”

My smile widened, knowing what her reaction would be to the next bit.

“Because, technically, we don’t need to breathe.”


I laughed and put one finger against her lips. “No, no, you promised. Do you want to hear the story or not?”

Her lips moved against my touch. “You can’t spring something like that on me, and then expect me not to say anything.”

I let my hand fall to rest against the side of her neck.

“You don’t have to breathe?”

I shrugged. “No, it’s not necessary. Just a habit.”

“How long can you go… without breathing?”

“Indefinitely, I suppose; I don’t know.” The longest I’d ever gone was a few days, all of it underwater. “It gets a bit uncomfortable—being without a sense of smell.”

You may ask yourself "Why the gently caress did Edward spend several days completely underwater?" Reportedly, Stephenie Meyer gave an explanation in an interview I've seen referenced but can't find: vampires usually just swim with their super speed any time they need to cross a body of water.

Now think about the Volturi and their witnesses coming to the finale of Breaking Dawn, in their heavy velvet robes, and try to picture this in any way that isn't loving hilarious.


“A bit uncomfortable,” she repeated in a fragile voice, barely over a whisper.

Her eyebrows were drawn together, her eyes narrowed, her shoulders rigid. The exchange, which had been funny to me a moment before, was abruptly humorless.

We were so different. Though we’d once belonged to the same species, we shared only a few superficial traits now. She must finally feel the weight of the distortion, the distance between us. I lifted my hand from her skin and dropped it to my side. My alien touch would only make that gap more obvious.

I stared at her troubled expression, waiting to see if this would be one truth too many. After a few long seconds, the stress in her features eased.

Her eyes focused on my face, and a different kind of unease marked hers.

You've been doing the "THIS IS ONE TRUTH TOO MANY!" thing for half the drat book. Just admit that she's a monster fucker and move on.


She reached up with no hesitation to press her fingers against my cheek. “What is it?”

Concern for me again. So apparently this wasn’t the too much I’d been fearing.

“I keep waiting for it to happen.”

She was confused. “For what to happen?”

I took a deep breath. “I know that at some point, something I tell you or something you see is going to be too much. And then you’ll run away from me, screaming as you go.” I tried to smile at her, but I didn’t do a very good job. “I won’t stop you. I want this to happen, because I want you to be safe. And yet, I want to be with you. The two desires are impossible to reconcile.…”

She squared her shoulders, her chin jutted out. “I’m not running anywhere,” she promised.

I had to smile at her brave façade. “We’ll see.”

“So, go on,” she insisted, scowling a little at my doubtful response. “Carlisle was swimming to France.”

"Fully clothed, as was the custom of the time."


I measured her mood for one more second, then turned back to the gallery. This time I pointed her toward the most ostentatious of all the paintings, the brightest, the most garish. It was meant to be a portrayal of the final judgment, but half the thrashing figures seemed to be involved in some kind of orgy, the other half in a violent, bloody combat. Only the judges, suspended above the pandemonium on marble balustrades, were serene.

This one had been a gift. It wasn’t something Carlisle would have ever picked out for himself. But when the Volturi had pressed upon him the souvenir of their time together, it wasn’t as if he could have said no.

He had some affection for the gaudy piece—and for the distant vampire overlords depicted in it—so he kept it with his other favorites. They had been very kind to him in many ways, after all. And Esme liked the small portrait of Carlisle hidden in the midst of the mayhem.

The description of it as half-orgy, half-violence, is also not in the original book. Only "mayhem" and "swirling robes."


While I explained Carlisle’s first few years in Europe, Bella stared at the painting, trying to make sense of all the figures and swirling colors. I found my voice becoming less casual. It was hard to think of Carlisle’s quest to subdue his nature, to become a blessing to mankind rather than a parasite, without feeling again all the awe his journey deserved.

I’d always envied Carlisle’s perfect control but, at the same time, believed it was impossible for me to duplicate. I realized now that I’d chosen the lazy way, the path of least resistance, admiring him greatly, but never putting in the effort to become more like him. This crash course in restraint that Bella was teaching me might have been less fraught if I’d worked harder to improve in the last seven decades.

Yes, yes, woe is you.


Bella was staring at me now. I tapped the relevant scene in front of us to refocus her attention on the story.

“He was studying in Italy when he discovered the others there. They were much more civilized and educated than the wraiths of the London sewers.”

She concentrated on the tableau I indicated, and then laughed suddenly, a little shocked. She’d recognized Carlisle despite the robe-like costume he was painted in.

“Solimena was greatly inspired by Carlisle’s friends. He often painted them as gods. Aro, Marcus, Caius.” I gestured to each as I said their names. “Nighttime patrons of the arts.”

Her finger hesitated just above the canvas. “What happened to them?”

“They’re still there. As they have been for who knows how many millennia. Carlisle stayed with them only for a short time, just a few decades. He greatly admired their civility, their refinement, but they persisted in trying to cure his aversion to ‘his natural food source,’ as they called it. They tried to persuade him, and he tried to persuade them, to no avail. At that point, Carlisle decided to try the New World. He dreamed of finding others like himself. He was very lonely, you see.”

I touched only lightly on the following decades, as Carlisle struggled with his isolation and finally began to consider a course of action. The story turned more personal, and also more repetitive. She’d heard some of this before: Carlisle finding me on my deathbed and making the decision that had changed my destiny. And now, that decision was affecting Bella’s destiny, too.

“And so we’ve come full circle,” I concluded.

I know Carlisle has never killed a human directly (certainly through inaction with his "friends"), but I wonder how many vampires he's killed. As we saw in Eclipse, he's a skilled fighter and showed no hesitation in sending his family into battle. How many of those London "wraiths" did he have to decapitate and burn?


“Have you always stayed with Carlisle, then?” she asked.

With unerring instinct, she’d found the one question I least wanted to answer.

“Almost always,” I answered.

I placed my hand on her waist to guide her out of Carlisle’s office, wishing I could also guide her away from this train of thought. But I knew she was not going to let that stand. Sure enough…


I sighed, unwilling. But honesty must take precedence over shame.

“Well,” I confessed, “I had a typical bout of rebellious adolescence—about ten years after I was born, created, whatever you want to call it. I wasn’t sold on his life of abstinence, and I resented him for curbing my appetite. So I went off on my own for a time.”

“Really?” Her intonation was not what I expected. Rather than being disgusted, she sounded eager to hear more. This didn’t match her reaction in the meadow, when she’d seemed so surprised that I was guilty of murder, as though that truth had never occurred to her. Perhaps she’d grown used to the idea.

She shouldn't!


We started up the stairs. Now she seemed indifferent to her surroundings; she only watched me.

“That doesn’t repulse you?” I asked.

She considered that for half a second. “No.”

I found her answer upsetting. “Why not?” I nearly demanded.

“I guess… it sounds reasonable?” Her explanation ended on a higher pitch, like a question.

Reasonable. I laughed, the sound too harsh.

But instead of telling her all the ways it was neither reasonable nor forgivable, I found myself giving a defense.

“From the time of my new birth, I had the advantage of knowing what everyone around me was thinking, both human and nonhuman alike. That’s why it took me ten years to defy Carlisle. I could read his perfect sincerity, understand exactly why he lived the way he did.”

I wondered if I would ever have gone astray if I had not met Siobhan and others like her. If I hadn’t been aware that every other creature like myself—we’d not yet stumbled across Tanya and her sisters—thought the way Carlisle lived was ludicrous. If I had only known Carlisle, and never discovered another code of conduct, I think I would have stayed. It made me ashamed that I’d let myself be influenced by others who were never Carlisle’s equals. But I’d envied their freedom. And I’d thought I would be able to live above the moral abyss they all sank to. Because I was special. I shook my head at the arrogance.

It's not his fault! It's those darn girls who tempted him with sin!


“It took me only a few years to return to Carlisle and recommit to his vision. I thought I would be exempt from the depression that accompanies a conscience. Because I knew the thoughts of my prey, I could pass over the innocent and pursue only the evil. If I followed a murderer down a dark alley where he stalked a young girl—if I saved her, then surely I wasn’t so terrible.”

There were a great many humans I’d saved this way, and yet, it never seemed to balance out the tally. So many faces flashed through my memories, the guilty I’d executed and the innocents I’d saved.

One face lingered, both guilty and innocent.

Aug 26, 2010


Thank you for your public service.

Apr 23, 2014


September 1930. It had been a very bad year. Everywhere, the humans struggled to survive bank failures, droughts, and dust storms. Displaced farmers and their families flooded cities that had no room for them. At the time, I wondered whether the pervasive despair and dread in the minds around me were a contributing factor to the melancholy that was beginning to plague me, but I think even then I knew that my personal depression was wholly due to my own choices.

I was passing through Milwaukee, as I’d passed through Chicago, Philadelphia, Detroit, Columbus, Indianapolis, Minneapolis, Montreal, Toronto, city after city, and then returned, over and over again, truly nomadic for the first time in my life. I never strayed farther south—I knew better than to hunt near that hotbed of newborn nightmare armies—nor farther east, as I was also avoiding Carlisle, less for self-preservation and more out of shame in that case. I never stayed more than a few days in any one place, never interacted with the humans I wasn’t hunting. After more than four years, it had become a simple thing to locate the minds I sought. I knew where I was likely to find them, and when they were usually active. It was disturbing how easy it was to pinpoint my ideal victims; there were so many of them.

Perhaps that was part of the melancholy, too.

We're now in the best flashback of the book!


The minds I hunted were usually hardened to all human pity—and most other emotions besides greed and desire. There was a coldness and a focus that stood out from the normal, less dangerous minds around them. Of course, it had taken most of them some time to reach this point, where they saw themselves as predators first, and anything else second. So there was always a line of victims I had been too late to save. I could only save the next one.

Scanning for such minds, I was able to tune out everything more human for the most part. But that evening in Milwaukee, as I moved quietly through the darkness—strolling when there were witnesses, running when there were not—a different kind of mind caught my attention.

He was a young man, poor, living in the slums on the outskirts of the industrial district. He was in a state of mental anguish that intruded upon my awareness, though anguish was not an uncommon emotion in those days. But unlike the others who feared hunger, eviction, cold, sickness— want in so many forms—this man feared himself.

I can’t. I can’t. I can’t do this. I can’t. I can’t. It was like a mantra in his head, repeating endlessly. It never resolved into anything stronger, never became I won’t. He thought the negatives, but meanwhile he was planning.

The man hadn’t done anything… yet. He had only dreamed of what he wanted. He had only watched the girl in the tenement up the alley, never spoken to her.

Huh, why does this sound familiar?


I was a bit flummoxed. I had never condemned anyone to death whose hands were clean. But it seemed likely this man would not have clean hands for long. And the girl in his mind was just a young child.

Oh yeah, this flashback is loving dark. This is basically Meyer writing the story we all wanted instead.

It just has to deal with words like "flummoxed" in the horror segment.


Unsure, I decided to wait. Perhaps he would overcome the temptation.

I doubted it. My recent study of the basest of human natures had left little room for optimism.

Unlike you, who is superior.


Down the alley where he lived, where the buildings leaned precariously together, there was a narrow house with a recently collapsed roof. No one could get to the second floor safely, so that was where I hid, motionless, while I listened through the next several days. Examining the thoughts of the people crowded into the sagging buildings, it didn’t take me long to find the child’s thin face in a different, healthier set of thoughts. I found the room where she lived with her mother and two older brothers and watched her through the day. This was easy; she was only five or six and so didn’t wander far. Her mother called her back when she rambled out of sight; Betty was her name.

The man watched, too, when he wasn’t scouring the streets for day labor. But he kept his distance from her in the daytime. It was at night that he paused outside the window, hiding in the shadows while a single candle burned in her family’s room. He marked at what time the candle was blown out. He noted the location of the child’s bed—just a newspaper-stuffed cushion under the open window. It was getting cool at night, but the smells in the overcrowded house were unpleasant. Everyone kept their windows open.

I can’t do this. I can’t. I can’t. His mantra continued, but he began to prepare. A piece of rope he found in a gutter. Some rags he plucked off a clothesline during his nighttime surveillance that would work as a gag. Ironically, he chose the same dilapidated house where I hid to store his collection. There was a cave-like space under the collapsed stairs. This was where he would bring the child.

Still I waited, unwilling to punish before I was positive of the crime

This is, uh, going places.


The hardest part, the part he struggled with, was that he knew he would have to kill her afterward. This was distasteful, and he didn’t like to consider the how of it. But this qualm, too, was overcome. It took another week.

By this time, I was quite thirsty, and bored with the repetition in his mind. However, I knew I could not justify my own murders unless I was acting within the rules I’d created for myself. Punish only the guilty, only those who would grievously harm others if they were spared.

Sorry, you're bored with this?


I was oddly disappointed the night he came for his ropes and gags. Against reason, I’d hoped he would stay guiltless.

No matter what Edward says to justify killing these people, don't let it trick you into thinking he was somehow moral at any point. He wanted people to rape and murder so he had victims to feed on.


followed him to the open window where the child slept. He didn’t hear me behind him, would not have seen me in the shadows if he had turned. The chanting in his head was over. He could, he had realized. He could do this.

I waited until he reached through the window, until his fingers brushed her arm, looking for a good hold.…

I grabbed him by the neck and leaped to the roof three stories up, where we landed with a low thud.

Of course he was terrified by the ice-cold fingers wrapped around his throat, bewildered by the sudden flight through the air, confused as to what was happening. But when I spun him to face me, somehow he understood. He didn’t see a man when he looked at me. He saw my empty black eyes, my death-pale skin, and he saw judgment. Though he didn’t come close to guessing what I actually was, he was absolutely correct about what was happening.

Maybe this is why they cast Robert Pattinson as Batman.


He realized that I had saved the child from him, and he was relieved. Not hardened like the others, not cold and sure.

I didn’t, he thought as I lunged. The words were not a defense. He was glad he had been stopped.

He had been my only technically innocent victim, the one who had not lived to become the monster. Ending his progression toward evil had been the right thing, the only thing to do.

So except for this guy, Edward never actually managed to get to a criminal before they had already committed their crimes!


As I considered them all, every one of those I’d executed, I didn’t regret any of their deaths individually. The world was a better place for each one of their absences. But somehow this didn’t matter.

And in the end, blood was just blood. It quenched my thirst for a few days or weeks, and that was all. Though there was physical pleasure, it was too marred by the pain of my mind. Stubborn as I was, I could not avoid the truth. I was happier without human blood.

The total sum of death became too much for me. It was only a few months later that I gave up on my selfish crusade, gave up trying to find something meaningful in the slaughter.

Somehow this book is making Edward more villainous.


“But as time went on,” I continued, wondering how much she’d intuited that I hadn’t said, “I began to see the monster in my eyes. I couldn’t escape the debt of so much human life taken, no matter how justified. And I went back to Carlisle and Esme. They welcomed me back like the prodigal. It was more than I deserved.” I remembered their arms around me, remembered the joy in their minds when I returned.

The way she looked at me now was also more than I deserved. I supposed my defense had worked, no matter how weak it sounded to me. But Bella must have been used to making excuses for me by now. I couldn’t imagine how else she could bear to be around me.

And that entire flashback happened between sentences!

Jan 26, 2019


chitoryu12 posted:

And that entire flashback happened between sentences!

Twilight would be a great anime

Feb 21, 2006


That flashback makes me wish Meyer had let her ideas percolate another decade. Or, in all fairness, since she wouldn’t have the same popularity in the first place, be willing to totally rewrite her saga instead of reusing exact passages/dialog/etc. But I’m biased since I was never a fan of Twilight to begin with and I find the idea of Edward and Bella choosing to justify their actions and ultimately NOT be good people a far more interesting story.

Apr 23, 2014


We’d reached the last door along the hallway.

“My room,” I informed her as I held it open.

I expected her reaction. The close scrutiny returned. She analyzed the view of the river, the abundance of shelving for my music, the stereo, the lack of traditional furniture, her eyes skipping from one detail to the next. I wondered if it was as interesting to her as her room had been to me.

Her eyes lingered on the wall treatments.

“Good acoustics?”

I laughed and nodded, then turned on the sound system. Even as low as the volume was, the speakers hidden in the walls and ceiling made it sound like we were in a concert hall with the performers. She smiled, then wandered over to the closest shelf of CDs.

"It turns out it only sounded that good to me, with my vampire senses, and is almost inaudible to humans."


It felt surreal to see her in the center of a space that was almost always an isolated retreat. We’d spent most of our time together in the human world—school, town, her home—and it had always made me feel the interloper, the one who didn’t belong. Less than a week ago, I couldn’t have believed she would ever be so relaxed and comfortable in the middle of my world. She was no interloper; she belonged perfectly. It was as if the room had never been complete till now.

And she was here under no pretext. I’d told no lies, revealed every one of my sins. She knew it all, and still wanted to be in this room, alone with me.

How disturbing!


“How do you have these organized?” she wondered, trying to make sense of my collection.

My mind was so caught up in the pleasure of having her here, it took me a second to respond.

“Ummm, by year, and then by personal preference within that frame.”

Bella could hear the abstraction in my voice. She glanced up at me, trying to understand why I was staring at her so intently.

“What?” she asked, her hand straying self-consciously to her hair.

“I was prepared to feel… relieved. Having you know about everything, not needing to keep secrets from you. But I didn’t expect to feel more than that. I like it. It makes me… happy.”

We smiled together.

“I’m glad,” she said.

It was easy to see she was telling nothing but the truth. There were no shadows in her eyes. It brought her as much pleasure to be in my world as being in hers brought me.

One of the few times she'll be telling the truth!


A flicker of unease twisted my expression. I thought of pomegranate seeds for the first time in a while. It felt right to have her here, but was that just my selfishness blinding me? Nothing had scared her away from me, but that didn’t mean that she shouldn’t be frightened. She’d always been too brave for her own good.

Goddammit, I forgot about the pomegranates! You made me forget and now you're bringing it back!


Bella watched my face change. “You’re still waiting for the running and the screaming, aren’t you?”

Close enough. I nodded.

“I hate to burst your bubble,” she said, her voice blasé, “but you’re really not as scary as you think you are. I don’t find you scary at all, actually.”

It was a well-performed lie, especially considering her usual lack of success with deception, but I knew she made the joke mostly to keep me from feeling dejected or worried. Though I sometimes regretted the depth of her leniency toward me, it did shift my mood. It was a funny joke, and I couldn’t resist playing along.

This isn't funny!


I smiled, showing too much of my teeth. “You really shouldn’t have said that.”

She’d asked to see me hunt, after all.

I coiled into a parody of my actual hunting stance, a loose, playful version. Exposing even more of my teeth, I growled softly; it was almost a purr.

She started to back away, though there was no real fear on her face. At least, no fear of physical harm. She did look a little afraid that she was about to become the butt of her own joke.

She swallowed loudly. “You wouldn’t.”

Another Meyer retcon: telling us outright that Bella knew this was a joke the entire time, so it's okay that Edward did this!


I sprang.

She wasn’t able to see much of the action; I moved at immortal speed.

Launching myself across the room, I scooped her up into my arms as I flew by. I shaped myself into a sort of defensive armor around her, so that when we collided with the sofa, she felt none of the impact.

By design, I’d landed on my back. I held her against my chest, still curled within my arms. She seemed a little disoriented, as though she wasn’t sure which way was up. She struggled to sit, but I wasn’t finished making my point.

She tried to glare at me, but her eyes were too wide to make the expression effective.

“You were saying?” I asked, my voice a playful snarl.

She tried to catch her breath. “That you are… a very, very… terrifying monster.”

Especially with full knowledge of his background and actions!


I grinned at her. “Much better.”

Alice and Jasper were bounding up the stairs. I could hear Alice’s eagerness to offer an invitation. She was also very curious about the sounds of a struggle emanating from my room. She hadn’t been watching me, so now she only saw what she would find when they arrived; the way we’d gotten so disarranged was already in the past.

Bella was still trying to free herself.

“Um, can I get up now?”

I laughed at her continued breathlessness. Despite her overconfidence, I’d still been able to truly startle her.

“Can we come in?” Alice asked from the hallway, aloud for Bella’s sake.

I sat up, now holding Bella on my lap. There was no need to pretend here, though I assumed a more respectful distance would be necessary in front of Charlie.

Yep! Motherfucker's gonna hate you!


Alice was already walking into the room as I answered, “Go ahead.”

While Jasper hesitated in the doorway, she settled herself in the middle of my rug, a wide grin on her face. “It sounded like you were having Bella for lunch, and we came to see if you would share,” she teased.

Bella braced herself, her eyes flying to my face for reassurance. I smiled and pulled her tighter against my chest.

“Sorry, I don’t believe I have enough to spare.”

Jasper followed her into the room, unable to help himself. The emotions inside were nearly intoxicating to him. In this moment, I knew Bella’s feelings were just the same as mine, for there was no counterbalance to the atmosphere of bliss that Jasper was getting high on now.

Yes, you read that right. Jasper is literally getting high on romance.


“Actually,” he said, changing the subject. I could see that he wanted to control what he was feeling, to regulate it. The ambience was overwhelming. “Alice says there’s going to be a real storm tonight, and Emmett wants to play ball. Are you game?”

I paused, looking to Alice.

Lightning fast, she ran through a few hundred images from that possible future. Rosalie was absent, but Emmett wouldn’t miss a game. Sometimes his team won, sometimes mine did. Bella was there watching, her face delighted by the otherworldly display.

“Of course you should bring Bella,” she encouraged, knowing me well enough to understand my hesitation.

Oh. Jasper was caught off guard. Internally, he readjusted his idea of what was to come. He would not be able to relax, as he’d planned. But experiencing the emotions Bella and I made each other feel… that was a trade he could accept.

This is hilarious. He's a loving emotion junkie. Bella and Edward's relationship is so perfect and preordained by destiny that even he, a guy who's been in a loving relationship for decades, is addicted to it.


“Do you want to go?” I asked Bella.

“Sure,” she answered quickly. And then after a tiny pause, “Um, where are we going?”

“We have to wait for thunder to play ball,” I explained. “You’ll see why.”

Her concern was more obvious now. “Will I need an umbrella?”

I laughed that this was her worry, and Alice and Jasper joined in.

“Will she?” Jasper asked Alice.

Another flash of images, this time tracking the course of the storm.

“No. The storm will hit over town. It should be dry enough in the clearing.”

“Good, then,” Jasper said. He found that he was excited by the idea of spending more time with Bella and me. His enthusiasm spread out from his body, infecting the rest of us. Bella’s expression changed from cautious to eager.

Cool, Alice thought, glad that her plan was now certain. She wanted recreational time with Bella, too. I’ll leave you to sort out the details.

“Let’s go see if Carlisle will come,” she said, bouncing up from the floor.

Jasper poked her in the ribs. “Like you don’t already know.”

Still a better love story than Bella and Edward.


She was out the door in the same breath. Jasper followed more slowly, savoring each second near us. He paused to shut the door behind himself, an excuse to linger that much longer.

“What will we be playing?” Bella asked as soon as the door was closed.

You will be watching. We will be playing baseball.”

She looked at me skeptically. “Vampires like baseball?”

I answered her with put-on gravitas. “It’s the American pastime.”

Dec 24, 2007

chitoryu12 posted:


She tried to glare at me, but her eyes were too wide to make the expression effective.

“You were saying?” I asked, my voice a playful snarl.

She tried to catch her breath. “That you are… a very, very… terrifying monster.”

Especially with full knowledge of his background and actions!

edit: read the lyrics, it fits.

Midjack fucked around with this message at 23:16 on Feb 15, 2021

Apr 23, 2014

Sep 12, 2003
Anyone who truly believes he has friends is a fool.

Is it just me or do Meyer's attempts at correcting weird abusive bits etc make this into more of a slog than the others? The earlier books had a kind of... idk, call it emotional weight, or passion, or involvement, i guess... that made the text if not good then at least entertaining. Is that what's missing here?

Anyway, I'm still rooting for you to finish it, chitoryu, cause it's the only way I'll ever see the end. Also, Hades = good.

Apr 23, 2014

Chapter 21: The Game


The time always went so quickly. Soon Bella would need to eat another meal, and currently there was no food at all in my house; I planned to rectify that in the near future. Time to return to the human world. As long as we were together, it was not a burden but a joy.

Edward, you need to eat too. Just because you're on a different feeding schedule doesn't mean the concept of meals is totally unknown to you!


So a meal, a little while to soak up her nearness, and then I’d have to leave her. I expected she would want to talk to Charlie alone before my introduction. But as soon as I turned onto her street, it was clear that my expectations for the afternoon were thwarted.

A 1987 Ford Tempo that had seen better days was parked in Charlie’s usual spot. And under the meager protection of the porch roof, a boy stood behind a man in wheelchair.

How well does Edward know cars that he can identify exact model years?


Bella beat him home, the old man thought. That’s unfortunate.

Hey, it’s Bella! The boy’s thoughts were much more enthusiastic.

I could think of only one reason that Billy Black would be unhappy to see Bella arrive before her father. And that reason involved a broken treaty. I would have confirmation soon enough; Billy hadn’t seen me yet.

“Has he forgotten who the treaty actually protects?” I hissed.

Bella glanced up at me, confused, though I doubted I’d spoken slowly enough for my words to be intelligible.

Yes, this is another line that was an unintelligible mutter in the original book and is now explained here. I don't know if Meyer actually knew what Edward was saying at any point or if she's just making this up as she goes.


Jacob saw me in the driver’s seat just a second before Billy did.

Him again. So she must be dating him. His enthusiasm vanished.

NO! Billy’s thought was a shout, and then a mental groan. No.

I heard his half-articulated fears—should he tell his son to run? Was it already too late?—and then his guilt.

How did it know?

I saw that I was right, that this visit was no innocent social call.

Parking the truck against the curb, I locked eyes with the frightened man.

“This is crossing the line.” I enunciated clearly this time. I hoped he could read my lips.

Bella understood immediately. “He came to warn Charlie?” She sounded horrified by the idea.

I nodded, not breaking away from Billy’s stare. After a second more, he looked down.

“Let me deal with this,” Bella suggested.

As much as I would have loved to get out of the truck and stalk up to the helpless duo—to lean over them, intimidating, close enough that all the little signs of what I was would feel like they were screaming at the old man, to bare my teeth and snarl a warning in a voice that would sound anything but human, to watch his hair stand on end and hear his heart splutter with panic—I knew it was a bad idea. For one thing, Carlisle wouldn’t like it. For another, though the boy was well aware of the legends, he would never believe them. Unless I got in their faces and flaunted my less human side.

Yes, that is our romantic hero Edward Cullen and his superpowered brain that remembers multiple human lifetimes of knowledge wanting to just immediately abandon any pretenses of diplomacy or convincing the Quileute that the Cullens aren't people-eating monsters so he can scream and intimidate people with his power. A very normal thing to want to do.


“That’s probably best,” I agreed. “Be careful, though. The child has no idea.”

Annoyance flashed suddenly across her face. I was confused until she spoke.

“Jacob is not that much younger than I am.”

It was the word child that had offended her.

I don't even know whether to call this out for Edward being over a century old and dating a teenager or Edward being permanently locked into teenage immaturity so him calling anyone "a child" is dumb.


“Oh, I know,” I teased.

Bella sighed and reached for the door handle, no happier about separating than I was.

“Get them inside so I can leave. I’ll be back around dusk,” I promised.

“Do you want my truck?”

“I could walk home faster than this truck moves.”

She smiled for a second, and then her face fell. “You don’t have to leave,” she murmured.

“Actually, I do.” I glanced at Billy Black. He was staring again, but he looked away quickly when he met my gaze. “After you get rid of them…” I felt a smile spreading across my face, a little too wide. “You still have to prepare Charlie to meet your new boyfriend.”

“Thanks a lot,” she moaned.

But while she clearly worried about Charlie’s reaction, I could see that she would go through with this. She would give me a label in her human world, something to let me belong there.

Charlie will have his own label in a month!


My smile softened. “I’ll be back soon.”

I appraised the humans on the porch one more time. Jacob Black was embarrassed, thinking caustic thoughts about his father for dragging him out to spy on Bella and her boyfriend. Billy Black was still suffused with fear, expecting me to suddenly begin butchering everyone in sight. It was insulting.

In that frame of mind, I leaned over to kiss Bella goodbye. Just to mess with the old man, I pressed my lips to her throat rather than her lips.

The agonized shouting in his head was nearly drowned out by the sound of Bella’s heart racing, and I wished the irritating humans would disappear.

I'm going to hit this boy with a sledgehammer.


But her eyes were on Billy now, appraising his distress.

“Soon,” she commanded. After one short, forlorn look, she opened the door and climbed out.

I sat very still as she jogged through the light rain to the door. “Hey, Billy. Hi, Jacob,” she said with forced enthusiasm. “Charlie’s gone for the day—I hope you haven’t been waiting long.”

“Not long,” the man said quietly. He kept glancing at me and then away again. He held up a brown paper bag. “I just wanted to bring this up.”

“Thanks. Why don’t you come in for a minute and dry off?”

She acted like she was unaware of his piercing stare, unlocking the door and then gesturing for them to enter, a smile glued to her face. She waited till they were inside the house to follow.

“Here, let me take that,” she said to Billy while she turned to shut the door behind her. Her eyes locked with mine for one instant, and then the door was closed.

I quickly moved from Bella’s truck to my usual tree before they could reach any windows that had a view of this side of the yard. I wasn’t going to leave until the Blacks did. If things were going to get tense with the tribe again, I needed to know exactly how far Billy was willing to go today.

“Fishing again? Down at the usual spot? Maybe I’ll run by and see him.” Even more urgent now. I didn’t know it had gotten so bad. Poor Bella, she doesn’t realize—

her new boyfriend's such an rear end in a top hat


“No,” Bella protested sharply at the same time my teeth snapped together. “He was headed someplace new… but I have no idea where.”

Even through the walls, I could hear that her tone was seriously off. Billy also noticed.

What do you mean "even through the walls"? You have superhuman hearing that can pick things up for miles!


What’s this? She doesn’t want me to see Charlie. She couldn’t know why I need to warn him.

I could see Bella’s expression as he analyzed it; her eyes flashed, her chin lifted stubbornly. It reminded him of one of his daughters, the one who never visited.

That would be Rebecca, who never once appears in the books.


I need to talk to her alone.

“Jake,” he said slowly, “why don’t you go get that new picture of Rebecca out of the car? I’ll leave that for Charlie, too.”

“Where is it?”

Jacob’s pure, clear thoughts were all gloomy now, replaying the kiss in the truck. It affected him in a much different way than it did his father. He knew she was too old to think of him the way he wished she would, but it depressed him to see the proof. He sniffed once and then winced, distracted.

Something’s gone rancid in here, he thought, and I wondered if he was reacting to his father’s gift in the paper bag; I’d smelled nothing amiss this morning.

It makes more sense for Jacob to dislike Edward so much if he smells like rotten cheese to him before he becomes a werewolf.


“I think I saw it in the trunk,” Billy lied smoothly. “You may have to dig for it.”

Neither Billy nor Bella spoke again until Jacob exited the front door, his shoulders slumped and his face down. He trudged to the car, ignoring the rain, and—with a sigh—started to sift through a pile of old clothes and forgotten junk. He was still rehashing the kiss, trying to decide how into it Bella was.

How much she was into a neck kiss?


Billy and Bella were facing off in the hallway.

How do I start…?

Before he could say anything, Bella turned and walked away toward the kitchen. He watched her retreating figure for a second, and then followed.

The refrigerator door creaked, then rustling ensued.

Billy watched as she slammed the fridge and whirled around to face him. He noted the defensive set of her mouth.

And of course, Edward's psychic power means we don't even need a different perspective! He can see everything Bella is doing through Billy's eyes!


Bella spoke first, her voice unfriendly. She’d obviously decided there was no point in acting oblivious. “Charlie won’t be back for a long time.”

She must be keeping that thing a secret for her own reasons. She needs to know, too. Maybe I can say enough to warn her without actually breaking the treaty.

“Thanks again for the fish fry.” Bella’s words were clearly a dismissal, but Billy didn’t think she looked surprised when he held his ground. She sighed and folded her arms across her chest.

“Bella,” Billy said, his voice no longer casual. It was deeper now, graver.

He's using his Dramatic Voice!


She held as perfectly still as it was possible for a human to stand and waited for him to continue.

“Bella,” he repeated. “Charlie is one of my best friends.”


He said the words very slowly. “I noticed you’ve been spending time with one of the Cullens.”

“Yes,” she said again, barely veiling her hostility now.

He didn’t respond to her tone. “Maybe it’s none of my business, but I don’t think that is such a good idea.”

“You’re right,” she retorted. “It is none of your business.”

So angry.

His voice turned ponderous again as he considered his wording carefully. “You probably don’t know this, but the Cullen family has an unpleasant reputation on the reservation.”

Very careful. He stayed just barely on the right side of the line.

“Actually, I did know that.” Bella’s words flew hot and fast, in direct contrast to his. “But that reputation couldn’t be deserved, could it? Because the Cullens never set foot on the reservation, do they?”

This pulled him up short. She knows! She knows? How? And how could she…? She couldn’t. She can’t know the whole truth. The revulsion that colored his thoughts made my teeth grind again.

“That’s true,” he finally conceded. “You seem… well informed about the Cullens. More informed than I expected.”

“Maybe even better informed than you are?”

What could they have told her that would make her so defensive of them? Not the truth. Some romantic fairy tale, no doubt. Well, obviously she won’t be convinced by anything I have to say.

He'd have a loving heart attack if he found out that Edward actually confessed everything to her and she just got kinda into it.


“Maybe.” He was annoyed to have to agree with her. “Is Charlie as well informed?”

He watched her expression get more evasive. “Charlie likes the Cullens a lot.”

Charlie doesn’t know anything.

“It’s not my business,” Billy said. “But it may be Charlie’s.”

Bella’s gaze dissected his expression for a long moment.

The girl looks like a lawyer.

A liar, yes.


“Though it would be my business, again, whether or not I think that it’s Charlie’s business, right?” she asked. It didn’t really sound like a question.

Again, they locked eyes.

Finally, Billy sighed.

Charlie wouldn’t believe me anyway. I can’t alienate him again. I need to be able to keep watch on this situation.

Since it's been a very long time, you may have forgotten. The Quileute who knew about vampires boycotted the hospital when Carlisle moved in, but Billy had no way of just telling Charlie why so they all came off as weird assholes.


“Yes, I guess that’s your business, too.”

Bella sighed and her posture relaxed. “Thanks, Billy,” she said, her voice softer now.

“Just think about what you’re doing, Bella,” Billy urged.

Her answer was too quick. “Okay.”

Another thought caught my attention. I’d paid little notice to Jacob’s fruitless search, too focused on Billy and Bella’s standoff. But now he realized—

Oh man, I’m a moron. He wanted me out of the way.

Full of dismay over how his father might be embarrassing him, and with a measure of guilty fear that Bella might have told on him about the treaty breaking, Jacob slammed the trunk and loped toward the front door.

And just think how much this innocent kid will have his personality destroyed in the coming books!


Billy heard the trunk and knew his time was up. He made his final plea.

“What I meant to say was… don’t do what you’re doing.”

Bella didn’t answer, but her expression was gentler now. Billy had a faint moment of hope that she was listening to him.

Jacob banged the front door open. Billy glanced over his shoulder, so I couldn’t see Bella’s reaction.

“There’s no picture anywhere in that car,” Jacob grumbled loudly.

“Hmm. I guess I left it at home,” Billy said.

“Great,” his son retorted with heavy sarcasm.

“Well, Bella, tell Charlie…” Billy waited for a beat before continuing. “That we stopped by, I mean.”

“I will,” she replied, voice sour again.

Jacob was surprised. “Are we leaving already?”

“Charlie’s gonna be out late,” Billy explained, already wheeling himself toward the door.

What was even the point of coming up? Jacob complained internally. Old man is getting senile. “Oh. Well, I guess I’ll see you later, then, Bella.”

“Sure,” Bella said.

“Take care,” Billy added in a warning voice.

Bella didn’t answer.

The writing keeps making it seem like Billy is trying to be exaggeratedly serious, like an oracle in a bad movie.


Jacob helped his father over the threshold and down the one step of the porch. Bella followed them to the door. She glanced toward the empty truck, then waved once toward Jacob and shut the door while Jacob was still loading his father into the car.

Though I would have liked to join Bella and talk over what had just happened, I knew my job wasn’t done yet. I heard her stamping up the stairs as I dropped from the tree and cut through the woods behind her house.

It was much more difficult to follow the Blacks in the daytime while on foot. I couldn’t very well pace them along the highway. I ducked in and out of the thicker knots of forest, listening for the thoughts of anyone close enough to see me. I beat them to the La Push turnoff, and chanced a full-tilt sprint across the rainy highway while the only visible car was headed in the other direction. Once I was on the west side of the road, there was plenty of cover. I waited for the old Ford to appear, then ran parallel to them through the dark trees.

The two weren’t talking. I wondered if I had missed any earlier recriminations from Jacob. The boy’s head was busy replaying the kiss again, and he was concluding morosely that Bella had been very into it.

"So there's no chance for me then..."


Billy’s mind was caught up in a memory. I was surprised that I remembered this, too. From a different angle.

It was over two and a half years ago. My family had been in Denali at the time, just a short courtesy visit on our way from one semi-permanent home to the next. Groundwork for the move back to Washington had included one unique chore. Carlisle already had his job lined up and Esme had bought her fixer-upper sight unseen. My siblings’ and my fake transcripts had been transferred to Forks High School. But the last step of preparation was the most important—while also the most atypical. Though we’d moved back to former homes in the past—after an appropriate amount of time had elapsed—we’d never had to give warning of our arrival before.

Carlisle had started with the internet. He’d found an amateur genealogist named Alma Young working out of the Makah Reservation. Pretending to be another family history enthusiast, he’d asked about any descendants of Ephraim Black who might still live in the area. Mrs. Young had been excited to give Carlisle the good news: Ephraim’s grandson and greatgrandchildren all lived in La Push, just down the coast. Of course she didn’t mind giving Carlisle the phone number. She was sure Billy Black would be thrilled to hear from his very distant cousin.

Little does Billy know how entangled the family tree will really get in a few years.


I’d been in the house when Carlisle had made the next call, so of course I’d heard everything Carlisle had said. Billy was remembering his side of it now.

Oh, that's convenient.


It had been such an ordinary day. The twins were out with friends, so it was just Billy and Jacob at home. Billy was teaching the boy how to whittle a sea lion out of madrona wood when the phone rang. He’d wheeled himself to the kitchen, leaving the child so focused on his work that he barely noticed his father leaving.

Billy had assumed it was Harry, or maybe Charlie. He’d answered with a cheerful “Hello!”

“Hello. Is this Billy Black?”

He didn’t recognize the voice on the other end of the line, but there was something sharp and clear about it that put his back up for some reason.

“Yes, this is Billy. Who’s asking?”

“My name is Carlisle Cullen,” the soft yet piercing voice told Billy, and it felt like the floor was falling out from under him. For a wild second, he’d thought he was having a nightmare.

This name and this keen-edged voice were part of a legend, a horror story. Though he’d been warned and prepared, it had all been such a very long time ago. Billy had never actually believed that one day he’d have to live in the same world as that horror story.

“Does my name mean anything to you?” the voice asked, and Billy noticed how young it sounded. Not hundreds of years old, as it should.

He wasn't even told that vampires don't age?


Billy had struggled to find his own voice. “Yes,” he finally rasped. He thought he heard a faint sigh.

“That’s good,” the monster replied. “It makes it easier for us to fulfill our duty.”

Billy’s mind went numb as he realized what the monster was saying.

Duty. He was speaking of the treaty. Billy struggled to remember the secret accords he’d so carefully memorized. If the monster said he had a duty to discharge, then that could only mean one thing.

All the blood drained from Billy’s face and the walls seemed to tilt around him, though he knew he was sitting safe and stable in his wheelchair.

“You’re coming back,” he choked out.

“Yes,” the monster agreed. “I know this must be… unpleasant for you to hear. But I assure you that your tribe is in no danger, nor are any of the people in Forks. We have not changed our ways.”

"Except that bit in the 1930s. Ignore that."


Billy couldn’t think of anything to say. He’d been locked into this treaty since before his birth. He wanted to object, to threaten… but treaty or no, there was nothing he could do.

“We’ll be living outside Forks.” The monster rattled off a set of numbers, and it took Billy a moment to realize they were coordinates, lines of longitude and latitude. He scrambled for something to write with, and came up with a black Sharpie but no paper.

“Again,” he demanded hoarsely.

The numbers came more slowly this time, and Billy scrawled them down his arm.

“I’m not sure how well you know the agreement—”

“I know it,” Billy interrupted. The blood drinkers got a five-mile radius around the location of their lair that was off limits for any member of the tribe. It was a small space compared to the land that belonged to the tribe, but in this moment it seemed like much too much.

This is the closest the books come to actually confirming how close the Cullens' house is to civilization: at least 5 miles away from any neighbors.


How would they convince any of the children to obey this rule? He thought of his own headstrong daughters and his happy-go-lucky son. None of them believed any of the stories. And yet if they ever made an innocent mistake… they’d be fair game.

“Of course,” the monster said politely. “We know it very well, too. You have nothing to worry about. I’m sorry for any distress this causes you, but we will not impact your people in any way.”

Billy just listened, numb again.

“Our current plan is to live in Forks for about a decade.”

Billy’s heart stopped.
Ten years.

“My children will be attending the local high school. I don’t know if any of your tribe’s children come up to the school—”

“No,” Billy whispered.

“Well, if anyone wishes to, I can assure you it will not be unsafe.”

The faces of the children of Forks flashed through Billy’s mind. Was there nothing he could do to protect them?

Legally, nope!


“Let me give you my number. We’d be happy to have a more cordial—”

“No,” Billy said, stronger this time.

“Of course. Whatever makes you most comfortable.”

And then a panicked thought intruded. The monster had spoken of his children.…

“How many?” Billy asked. His voice sounded like he was being strangled.

“Pardon me?”

“How many of you are there?”

For the first time, the smooth, confident voice hesitated. “Two more found our family many years ago. There are seven of us now.”

Very slowly and deliberately, Billy hung up the phone.

chitoryu12 fucked around with this message at 18:25 on Mar 3, 2021

Jan 28, 2013

Billy being told that a bunch of nice white people with the power to annihilate his whole world will be moving in, and having to endure "assurance" after "assurance" that it'll be fine, is actually kinda haunting.

Up Circle
Apr 3, 2008

Literally the only person who is a threat is Edward, it's fine!

Also Jasper. 2 vampires isn't that big of a deal.

Nov 8, 2009

Grammarchist posted:

Billy being told that a bunch of nice white people with the power to annihilate his whole world will be moving in, and having to endure "assurance" after "assurance" that it'll be fine, is actually kinda haunting.

I'm inclined to say that there are no truly consensual relationships possible between Meyers type vampires and anyone else, romantic relationships or otherwise. The power differential is simply so enormous that virtually any relationship has to be considered abusive in light of the sheer disparity between what the vampire and the anyone else can do.

Feb 21, 2006


Oh how I wish I had the link to a post Meyer made on the old Twilight forums where she’s talking about your hand being on fire and it’s the post painful thing ever and there’s a bucket of water right there but if you put your hand out your child dies so what do you do and somehow this justified her vampires being a dominant species.

I’m probably conflating some ideas in all fairness because it’s been years since I read that stuff, but the mental gymnastics Meyer did back then to prove the Cullens were morally good were something.

Nov 8, 2009

I suppose half the problem is that I think relationships should be between equals, rather than being unequal where one is clearly subservient to the other.

Mormons gonna Mormon, though, I guess.

Jan 26, 2019



Oh how I wish I had the link to a post Meyer made on the old Twilight forums where she’s talking about your hand being on fire and it’s the post painful thing ever and there’s a bucket of water right there but if you put your hand out your child dies so what do you do and somehow this justified her vampires being a dominant species.

I’m probably conflating some ideas in all fairness because it’s been years since I read that stuff, but the mental gymnastics Meyer did back then to prove the Cullens were morally good were something.


Feb 21, 2006


I actually found it, and I did misremember, it’s not your child that dies. Personal Correspondence 12 from 2007:

Meyer posted:

Thirsty vampires are in acute physical pain. It is comparable to the feel of a third degree burn inside your throat. It can make a vampire literally crazy for relief—beyond thought. If your hand was on fire and there was a bucket of ice water beside you, would you resist that relief? Of course not. You would have no reason to. Back to the average vampire’s viewpoint, neither does a vampire have a reason to resist. There is a fire, he or she quenches it. Problem, solution. It is not about pleasure as much as relief of pain for the thirsty vampire. There is pleasure in the act, but it does not influence the motivation before the act as much as the pain does....

If you knew that by putting out the fire on your hand you would be killing someone else, would you really be able to think clearly enough while burning to stop yourself? Could you burn for a stranger? Maybe. We all want to believe that we’d be able to be that strong. But it’s hard to know what we would be capable of if our hand actually was in flames.

Jan 26, 2019


Well I guess it makes sense, a child dying was a bit out of nowhere, lol.

Meyer kinda wrote herself in the corner because on the one hand she wants her vampires to be these completely inhuman, eldritch, alien monsters who are entirely ruled by their thirst but on the other she also wants the Cullens to be a model Mormon family. And it's not like Cullens are complete outsiders for other vamps, they're just considered to be quirky.

Apr 23, 2014

And also romanticize the vampires to the point where it makes sense for Bella becoming a vampire to be considered a happy ending, despite it apparently being eternal agony constantly driving you to murder!

Apr 23, 2014


And then I had to stop running. I’d not quite reached the treaty line, but this particular memory made me loath to cut it too close. I turned north and headed homeward.

So nothing very helpful from Billy’s thoughts. I felt reasonably sure that he would follow the same pattern: return to his safe zone and contact his cronies. They would hash through the new information—which was pretty meager—and come to the same conclusion. There was nothing they could do. The treaty was their only protection.

Not the theoretical morality of the "vegetarian" vampires. The treaty.


I imagined that Billy’s longstanding friendship with Charlie would be the point of contention. Billy would fight very hard to be allowed to warn Charlie in a more detailed fashion. A cold one had chosen his only daughter as… a victim, a target, a meal; I could guess how Billy would choose to describe our relationship.

"Terrible. Literally all of it."


Surely the others, more impartial than Billy, would insist on his silence.

Regardless, Billy’s earlier attempt to alert Charlie to the danger of Carlisle working at the hospital hadn’t gone well. Adding in a heavy helping of the fantastical would certainly not help. Billy had already recognized that himself.

I was nearly home. I would give Carlisle the update and my analysis of the situation. There really wasn’t much else to do. I was positive his reaction would be the same. Much like the Quileutes, we had no option besides following the treaty to the letter.

I darted across the freeway again when there were no cars passing. As soon as I was on the drive, I heard the sound of a familiar engine coming from the garage. I stopped dead in the middle of the single lane and waited.

Rosalie’s red BMW rounded the curve and screeched to a stop.

I waved halfheartedly.

You know I’d hit you if it wouldn’t mess my car up.

I nodded.

Rosalie revved her engine once, then sighed.

Can I say again how much I love Rosalie and wish she was the protagonist of a better book?


“You heard about the game, I guess.”

Just let me go, Edward. I could see in her mind that she had no destination in mind. She only wanted to be away from here. Emmett will stay. That’s enough, isn’t it?


She closed her eyes and inhaled deeply. I don’t understand why this is so important to you.

You are important to me, Rose,” I said simply.

Everyone will have more fun without me.

I shrugged. She might be right.

I won’t be nice.

I smiled. “I don’t require nice. I only asked for toleration.”

She hesitated.

“It won’t be that bad,” I promised. “Maybe you’ll win the game soundly, make me look bad.”

One corner of her mouth quirked up as she fought a smile. I get Emmett and Jasper.

She always picked the obvious muscle.


How good could Twilight have been if Edward and Rosalie always had this dynamic?


She took another deep breath, instantly regretting our agreement. She tried to imagine being in the same place as Bella and… struggled.

“Nothing is going to happen tonight, Rose. She’s not making any decisions. She’s just going to watch us play a game, that’s all. Think of it as an experiment.”

In that… it might blow up?

I gave her a tired look. She rolled her eyes.

I missed this girl.


“If it doesn’t work, we’ll regroup and come up with another solution.”

Rosalie had a plethora of other solutions, most of them profane, but she was ready to surrender. She would try… but I could see that she would not work very hard at being civil. It was a start.

I suppose I should change, then. With that, she threw her car into reverse and gunned it back toward the house, climbing from zero to sixty before she was fully out of view. I took the shorter route straight through the forest.


Inside, Emmett was watching four different baseball games at the same time on the big screen. His head was turned away, though, listening to the sound of Rosalie’s car squealing into the garage.

I gestured to the TV. “Nothing you’ll find there will help you win tonight.”

You talked Rose into playing?

I nodded once, and a huge grin split his face.

I owe you one.

I pursed my lips. “Really?”

He was intrigued that I clearly wanted something. Sure, what do you want?

“Your best behavior around Bella?”

Rose flitted through the room and up the stairs, pointedly ignoring us both.

Emmett thought about my request. What exactly does that entail?

“Not terrifying her on purpose.”

He shrugged. “Seems fair.”


Who the hell wrote this? This isn't the Twilight we've gotten used to. This is....actually good?


I’m just glad you’re back. The last months had dragged unusually for Emmett, first with my moods and then with my absence.

With all the stuff Meyer wrote in 2007 that was godawful.


I almost apologized, but I knew he wasn’t upset with me now. Emmett lived for the present.

“Where are Alice and Jasper?”

Emmett was watching the games again. Hunting. Jasper wants to be ready. Funny thing—seemed like he was excited for tonight, more than I would have expected.

“Funny,” I agreed, though I had a little more insight into why.

Edward, dear, I can hear you dripping on my floors. Please change into something dry and mop that up.

“Sorry, Esme!”

Oh my God he's been soaking wet this entire time.


I dressed for Charlie this time, pulling out one of the more impressive rain jackets that I rarely wore. I wanted to look like a person who was taking the weather seriously, concerned about avoiding the cold and the wet. It was the little details that set humans at ease.

Automatically, I tucked my bottlecap into the pocket of my new jeans.

While I was mopping, I thought about the short journey to the baseball clearing tonight, and realized that—after yesterday—Bella might not be too keen on running with me to our destination. I knew there would have to be some running, but the shorter the distance the better, I assumed.

“Can I borrow your Jeep?” I asked Emmett.

Nice jacket. He chuckled. Do try to stay dry and cozy.

I waited with an overdone expression of patience.

“Sure,” he agreed. “But now you owe me one.”

“I’m delighted to be in your debt.”

I darted back upstairs to the sound of his laughter.

This is a fanfic. There's no way Stephenie Meyer could have written something actually decent.


It was a quick conference with Carlisle—like me, he could see no course of action besides continuing on as we were. And then I was hurrying back to Bella.

Emmett’s Jeep was in many ways the most conspicuous of our cars just by sheer size. But there weren’t many people out in the downpour, and the rain would make it hard for anyone to see who was driving. People would assume the massive vehicle was from out of town.

I wasn’t sure how much time Bella would need, so I turned up the street a block from hers to make sure she was ready for me.

Before I was even to the end of the street, I could tell Charlie’s thoughts were in a dither. She must have begun. I caught a glimpse of Emmett’s face in his head. What was that about?

At this point, Bella is talking to her dad about dating Edward. Charlie can't remember all the kids and is confusing them.


I pulled over by a patch of forest between homes and let the engine idle.

I was close enough now to make out their spoken voices. The nearby houses were not silent, but those other voices, both mental and physical, were easily ignored. I was so attuned to the sound of Bella’s voice by now that I could have picked it out over a stadium full of shouting.

“It’s Edward, Dad,” she was saying.

“Is he?” her father demanded. I tried to make sense of what they were saying about me.

“Sort of, I guess,” she admitted.

“You said last night that you weren’t interested in any of the boys in town,” he remonstrated.

“Well, Edward doesn’t live in town, Dad.… And anyways, it’s kind of at an early stage, you know? Don’t embarrass me with all the boyfriend talk, okay?”

I was able to put together the thread of the conversation then. I tried to understand from Charlie’s emotions how perturbed he was by her revelation, but he seemed extra stoic tonight.

Stop just repeating scenes


“When is he coming over?”

“He’ll be here in a few minutes.” Bella sounded more agitated about this than her father.

“Where is he taking you?”

Bella groaned theatrically. “I hope you’re getting the Spanish Inquisition out of your system now. We’re going to play baseball with his family.”

There was a second of silence, and then Charlie started laughing. “You’re playing baseball?”

From Charlie’s tone, it was evident that—despite her stepfather’s occupation—Bella wasn’t a huge fan of the sport.

Because she would destroy Phoenix with clumsiness, yes.


“Well, I’ll probably watch most of the time.”

“You must really like this guy.” He sounded more suspicious now. From the flashbacks running through his head, I thought he must be trying to piece together how long this relationship had been going on. He felt newly justified in his suspicions of the night before.

I revved the engine and made a quick U-turn. She’d finished her prep work, and I was anxious to be with her again.

I parked behind her truck and darted up to the doorway. Charlie was saying, “You baby me too much.”

I pressed the doorbell, and then flipped my hood up. I was good at passing for human, but it felt a lot more important right now than it usually did.

You are the worst at passing for human!


I heard Charlie’s footsteps coming toward the door, closely followed by Bella’s. Charlie’s mind seemed to be vacillating between anxiety and humor. I thought he was still enjoying the idea of Bella willingly being involved in a baseball game; I was almost positive I had it right.

Charlie opened the door, his eyes focused at about my shoulder height; he’d been expecting someone shorter. He readjusted, and then staggered half a step back.

I’d experienced the reaction often enough in the past that I didn’t need clearer thoughts to understand. Like any normal human, suddenly standing just a foot away from a vampire would send adrenaline racing through his veins. Fear would twist in his stomach for just a fraction of a second, and then his rational mind would take over. His brain would force him to ignore all the little discrepancies that marked me as other. His eyes would refocus and he would see nothing more than a teenage boy.

I watched him come to that conclusion, that I was just a normal boy. I knew he would be wondering what his body’s strange reaction had been about.

Abruptly an image of Carlisle flitted through his head, and I thought he must be comparing our faces. We really didn’t look much alike, but the similarities in our coloring were enough for most people. Maybe it wasn’t enough for Charlie. He was definitely dissatisfied about something.

"Bella, he's an rear end in a top hat."


Bella was watching nervously over Charlie’s shoulder.

“Come on in, Edward.” He stepped back and gestured for me to follow. Bella had to dance out of his way.

“Thanks, Chief Swan.”

He sort of smiled, almost unwillingly. “Go ahead and call me Charlie. Here, I’ll take your jacket.”

I shrugged it off quickly. “Thanks, sir.”

Charlie gestured to the small living room alcove. “Have a seat there, Edward.”

Bella made a face, clearly wanting to be on our way.

I chose the armchair. It seemed a little forward to take the sofa, where Bella would have to sit next to me—or Charlie would. Probably better to keep the family together for an official first date.

Reading the original here, this is where Bella calls her dad "Chief Swan" and I hate her a bit more.


Bella didn’t like my choice. I winked at her while Charlie was settling himself.

“So I hear you’re getting my girl to watch baseball,” Charlie said.

Amusement was winning in his expression.

“Yes, sir, that’s the plan.”

He chuckled aloud now. “Well, more power to you, I guess.”

I politely laughed along.

Bella jumped to her feet. “Okay, enough humor at my expense. Let’s go.” Hurrying back to the hall, she shoved her arms into her own jacket. Charlie and I followed. I grabbed my jacket on the way and slipped it on.

“Not too late, Bell,” Charlie cautioned.

“Don’t worry, Charlie, I’ll have her home early,” I said.

He eyed me keenly for a second. “You take care of my girl, all right?”

Bella performed another dramatic groan.

You can't just make fun of your characters doing the writing mistakes you made and think it fixes them!


It felt more satisfying than I would have thought to say the words “She’ll be safe with me, I promise, sir” and be confident that they were true. Bella walked out.

Charlie and I laughed together again, though this time it was more genuine on my part. I smiled at Charlie and waved as I followed Bella outside.

Apr 23, 2014


I didn’t get very far. Bella had frozen on the small porch, staring at Emmett’s Jeep. Charlie crowded behind me, looking to see what had slowed Bella’s determination to escape.

He whistled in surprise. “Wear your seat belts,” he said gruffly.

Her father’s voice galvanized her. She dashed out into the pouring rain. I kept my speed human but used my considerably longer legs to get to the passenger side first and open the door for her. She hesitated for a moment, eyeing the seat, then the ground, then the seat again. She took a deep breath and bent her legs as though about to jump. Charlie couldn’t see much of us through the Jeep’s windows, so I lifted her into the seat. She gasped in surprise.

Edward narrowly stopped Bella from breaking her neck trying to enter a vehicle.


I walked around to my door, waving to Charlie again. He waved back perfunctorily.

Inside the car, Bella was struggling with the seat belt. Holding a buckle in each hand, she looked up at me and said, “What’s all this?”

“It’s an off-roading harness.”

She frowned. “Uh-oh.”

After a second of searching, she found a tongue, but it wouldn’t fit into either of the two buckles she tried it with. I chuckled once at her baffled expression, then snapped all her attachments into place. Her heart drummed louder than the rain when my hands brushed across the skin of her throat. I let my fingers trail across her collarbones once before I settled into my seat and started the engine.

Stop trying to make off-roading harnesses erotic.


As we pulled away from the house she said, sounding a little alarmed, “This is a… um… big Jeep you have.”

“It’s Emmett’s. I didn’t think you’d want to run the whole way,” I admitted.

“Where do you keep this thing?”

“We remodeled one of the outbuildings into a garage.”

She eyed the empty harness behind my back. “Aren’t you going to put on your seat belt?”

I just looked at her.

Is part of Meyer's power fantasy just being able to speed and not wear a seatbelt?


She frowned and started to roll her eyes, but the expression got stuck midroll.

“Run the whole way?” Her voice rose to a higher octave than usual. “As in, we’re still going to run part of the way?”

“You’re not going to run,” I reminded her.

She moaned. “I’m going to be sick.”

“Keep your eyes closed, you’ll be fine.”

Her front teeth bit deep into her lower lip.

I wanted to reassure her—she would be safe with me. I leaned over to kiss the top of her head. And then I flinched.

The rain in her hair affected her scent in a way I hadn’t expected. The burn in my throat, which had seemed so stable, seized me in a sudden flare. A groan of pain escaped my lips before I could block it.

I straightened up at once, putting space between us. She was staring at me, confused. I tried to explain.

“You smell so good in the rain.”

This hurts.


Her expression was wary as she asked, “In a good way, or in a bad way?”

I sighed. “Both, always both.”

The rain pelted the windshield like hail, sharp and loud, sounding more solid than a liquid. I turned onto the off-road track that would take us as deep into the forest as the Jeep could go. It would cut a few miles off the run.

Bella stared out the window seemingly lost in thought. I wondered whether my answer had upset her. But then I noticed how tightly she was bracing herself against the window frame, her other hand gripped around the edge of her seat. I slowed down, taking the ruts and the rocks as smoothly as I could.

It seemed as though every method of travel besides her lethargic dinosaur of a truck was unpleasant to her. Maybe this bumpy ride would make her less loath to travel the most convenient way.

It doesn't.


The track died in a small open space surrounded by close-packed fir trees—there was just enough room to turn a vehicle around in order to head back down the mountain. I shut off the engine, and suddenly it was nearly silent. We’d run through the storm; it was just misting now.

“Sorry, Bella,” I apologized. “We have to go on foot from here.”

“You know what? I’ll just wait here.”

She sounded breathless again. I tried to read her face to see how serious she was. I couldn’t tell if she was really that frightened, or being stubborn.

“What happened to all your courage?” I demanded. “You were extraordinary this morning.”

The corners of her lips twisted up into a very small smile. “I haven’t forgotten the last time yet.”

I dashed around the car to her side, wondering about that smile. Was she teasing me a little?

There's no mention of a smile in the original book. This is another of Meyer's retcons: turning it into mutual teasing instead of Edward manhandling her to get her to do what he wants.


I opened the door for her, but she didn’t move. The harness must still be an impediment. I worked quickly to free her.

“I’ll get those,” she protested. But it was already done before she could add, “You go on ahead.”

I considered her expression for a moment. She looked a little nervous, but not terrified. I didn’t want her to give up on traveling with me. For one thing, it was the simplest way of getting around. But more than that… before Bella, running had been my favorite thing. I wanted to share it with her.

But first I had to convince her to give it another try.

Maybe I would attempt a more dynamic form of dazzling.

He pulls a disco ball and flashlight from the trunk.


I thought through all our past interactions. In the early days, I’d often misinterpreted her reactions to me, but now I saw things through a new filter. I knew that if I looked into her eyes with a certain intensity, she would often lose her train of thought. And then when I kissed her, she forgot all kinds of things—common sense, self-preservation, and even life-sustaining activities like breathing.

A heartbeat...


“Hmmm…” I considered how to proceed. “It seems I’m going to have to tamper with your memory.”

I lifted her out of the Jeep and set her gently on her feet. She stared at me, a little nervous, a little excited.

She raised her eyebrows. “Tamper with my memory?”

“Something like that.”

In the past, I’d had the strongest effect on her when I’d been searching most intensely to hear her secret thoughts. Amused by the futility, I tried again. I stared deeply into her clear, dark eyes. My own narrowed and I struggled fiercely through the silence. Of course there was nothing to hear. She blinked four times fast, her nervous expression shifting to one that was more… stunned.

I felt I was on the right path.

Leaning closer, I placed my hands against the hardtop, one on either side of her head. She took a half step back, pressing herself against the door. Did she need more space? Her chin angled up, her face set at the perfect incline for me to kiss her. Probably not, then. I moved a few inches closer. Her eyes closed halfway, her lips parted.

“Now, what exactly are you worrying about?” I murmured.

She blinked fast again, and took a gasping breath—I wasn’t at all sure what I was supposed to be doing about her frequent breathing lapses. Did I need to remind her at intervals?

And she can remind you about eating!


“Well…” She swallowed, then sucked in another ragged breath. “Um, hitting a tree. And dying. And then getting sick.”

I grinned at her order of events, then forced my face back into its former expression of intensity. Slowly I leaned down and pressed my lips into the small indentation between her collarbones. Her breath caught and her heart fluttered.

My lips moved against the skin of her throat. “Are you still worried now?”

It took her a moment to find her voice. “Yes?” She whispered the word, unsure. “About hitting trees… and getting sick?”

Slowly I tilted my face up, tracing the length of her throat with my nose and lips. I breathed my next question into the hollow just under the edge of her jaw. Her eyes slid all the way closed.

“And now?”

She was breathing in quick pants. “Trees?” she gasped. “Motion sickness?”

I brushed my lips up the side of her face, then softly kissed first one eyelid, then the next.

“Bella, you don’t really think I would hit a tree, do you?” My tone was gently chiding. After all, she was the one who thought I was good at everything. Perhaps if I made the question about her faith in me.


“No,” she breathed. “But I might.”

Slow and deliberate, I kissed my way across her cheek, pausing right at the edge of her mouth. “Would I let a tree hurt you?”

I'm not posting any Evil Dead scenes here.


My upper lip touched her lower lip with the slightest pressure imaginable.

“No,” she sighed. It was a soft sound, almost a coo.

That is not sexy!


Now my lips moved lightly against hers as I whispered, “You see, there’s nothing to be afraid of, is there?”

“No,” she agreed with a shuddering sigh.

And then, though I’d only been intending to overwhelm her, I found myself wholly overcome.

It didn’t feel like my mind was in control. My body was as much in command as it was when I hunted—impulse and appetite overthrowing reason. Only now my desire was not for the old needs I’d had time to master. These were new passions, and I hadn’t yet learned how to govern them.

My mouth crushed too roughly against hers, my hands strained her face closer to my own. I wanted to feel her skin against every part of me. I wanted to hold her so close that we could never be separated.

This new fire—a fire without pain, that ravaged only my ability to think —raged even hotter when her arms wrapped tightly around my neck and her body bowed into mine. Her heat and her pulse were fused against my own form from chest to thigh. I was drowning in sensation.

Her lips opened against mine, with mine, and it seemed every part of me could think of nothing but deepening that kiss.

Ironically, it was my basest instinct that saved her.

Her warm breath surged into my mouth, and my involuntary reflexes reacted—venom flowed, muscles clenched. It was enough of a shock to bring me back to myself.

I reeled away from her, feeling her hands slide down my neck and chest. Horror flooded my mind.

How close had I just come to harming her? To killing her?

Unfortunately, not close enough.


I could see it as clearly as I could see her startled face in front of me now—a world without her. I’d considered this fate so many times that I didn’t have to imagine now the vastness of that empty world, the agony of it. I knew it wasn’t a world I could endure.

Or… a world in which she was miserable. If she, in total innocence, had touched her tongue to one of the razor-sharp edges of my teeth…

Please, just find anything else to write.


“drat it, Bella!” I gasped, barely hearing the words that twisted out of me. “You’ll be the death of me, I swear you will.” I shuddered, sickened by myself.

Killing her would surely kill me, too. Her life was my only life—my fragile, finite life.

We've already done this


She braced her hands against her knees, trying to catch her breath.

“You’re indestructible,” she mumbled.

She was close to right about my physical durability, so different from her own; she didn’t know how soundly my existence was knotted to hers. And she didn’t know how close she’d just been to vanishing.

Not the knotting again!


“I might have believed that before I met you,” I groaned and took a deep breath. It didn’t feel safe to be alone with her. “Now let’s get out of here before I do something really stupid.”

I reached for her and she seemed to understand the need to hurry. She didn’t object as I lifted her onto my back. She wrapped her arms and legs fast around me, and I had to struggle for a second again to keep my mind in control of my body.

“Don’t forget to close your eyes,” I warned her.

Her face pressed tight against my shoulder.

The run wasn’t long, but it was long enough for me to get myself in order. It seemed I couldn’t trust anything when it came to my instincts; just because I was confident about my self-control in one way didn’t mean I could take any other control for granted. I would have to take a step back and draw a careful line to protect her. I would have to limit physical contact to some form that didn’t affect her ability to breathe or mine to think. It was pathetic that the second concern should be more important than the first.


She never moved during the short journey. I heard her breath coming evenly, and her heartbeat seemed stable, if slightly elevated. She held still even when I came to a stop.

I reached behind me to stroke her hair. “It’s over, Bella.”

She loosened her arms first, taking a deep breath, and then relaxed her taut legs. Suddenly, the warmth of her body vanished.

“Oh!” she huffed.

I spun around to find her splayed awkwardly on the ground like a child’s doll tossed to the floor. The shock in her eyes was rapidly turning to indignation, as if she had no idea how she’d gotten there, but knew someone was surely to blame.

I’m not sure why it was so funny. Perhaps I was just overwrought. Maybe it was the powerful relief I was beginning to feel now that the close call was once again behind me. Or I just needed the release.

Dammit, I already used that song!


For whatever reason, I started laughing and couldn’t immediately stop.

Bella rolled her eyes at my reaction, sighed, and stood up. She tried to wipe the mud off her jacket with such a long-suffering expression that I could only laugh harder.

She glared at me once, then marched forward.

Jan 26, 2019


chitoryu12 posted:

Stop trying to make off-roading harnesses erotic.

How about helicopter harnesses?

50 Shades of Gray posted:

I sit down in my allotted seat, and he crouches beside me to strap me into the harness. It’s a four-point harness with all the straps connecting to one central buckle. He tightens both of the upper straps, so I can hardly move.
He’s so close and intent on what he’s doing. If I could only lean forward, my nose would be in his hair. He smells, clean, fresh, heavenly, but I’m fastened securely into my seat and effectively immobile. He glances up and smiles, like he’s enjoying his usual private joke, his gray eyes heated. He’s so tantalizingly close. I hold my breath as he pulls at one of the upper straps.
“You’re secure, no escaping,” he whispers, his eyes are scorching.

Dirt Road Junglist
Oct 8, 2010

There's a ghost in me
Who wants to say I'm sorry
Doesn't mean I'm sorry

macabresca posted:

How about helicopter harnesses?

It's startling how basic EL James's prose style is. There's a lot of sense detail, but it's all told in a flatly descriptive way, with similar sentence structures, and it ends up feeling like a 1st grade grammar book. But pervy.

Apr 23, 2014


I choked back my humor and darted after to catch her lightly by the waist, trying to force my voice to sound composed as I asked, “Where are you going, Bella?”

She wouldn’t look at me. “To watch a baseball game,” she answered. “You don’t seem to be interested in playing anymore, but I’m sure the others will have fun without you.”

“You’re going the wrong way,” I informed her.

She inhaled once through her nose, tilted her chin to an even more stubborn angle, then spun 180 degrees and stomped off in the opposite direction. I caught her again. This was not the correct way, either.

“Don’t be mad,” I pleaded. “I couldn’t help myself. You should have seen your face.” Another laugh escaped; I tried to swallow the one that followed.

She finally looked up, meeting my gaze with anger sparking in her eyes. “Oh, you’re the only one who’s allowed to get mad?”

I remembered how little she liked double standards.

......loving really, Stephenie?


“I wasn’t mad at you,” I assured her.

Her voice nearly dripped acid as she quoted me. “‘Bella, you’ll be the death of me.’”

My humor turned black but didn’t totally disappear. I’d spoken more truth in that moment of wild emotion than I’d meant to. “That was simply a statement of fact.”

She twisted in my hold, trying to pull away. I put one hand against her cheek so she couldn’t hide her face from me.

Before I could say more, she insisted, “You were mad!”

“Yes,” I agreed.

“But you just said—”

“That I wasn’t mad at you.” Nothing seemed funny now. She’d taken the blame on herself. “Can’t you see that, Bella? Don’t you understand?”

She frowned, confused and frustrated. “See what?”

“I’m never angry with you,” I explained. “How could I be? Brave, trusting… warm as you are.” Forgiving, kind, sympathetic, sincere, good… essential, crucial, life-giving… I could have gone on for a while, but she interrupted.

“Then why…?” she whispered.

I assumed her unfinished thought was something along the lines of Why did you snap at me so cruelly?

Destined by fate to be together for eternity, utterly awful at communication.


I took her face between both my hands, trying to communicate with my eyes as much as with my words, trying to put more force into each one.

“I infuriate myself,” I told her. “The way I can’t seem to keep from putting you in danger. My very existence puts you at risk. Sometimes… I truly hate myself. I should be stronger, I should be able to—”

I was surprised when her fingers touched my lips, blocking the rest of what I wanted to say.

“Don’t,” she murmured.

The confusion had disappeared from her face, leaving only kindness behind.

I lifted her hand from my mouth and pressed it to my cheek.

“I love you,” I told her. “It’s a poor excuse for what I’m doing, but it’s still true.”

At this point, it's been about 2 months since they first saw each other.


She stared at me with such warmth, such… adoration. There seemed to be only one answer to such a look.

It would have to be a restrained answer. There could be no more impulsiveness.

“Now, please try to behave yourself,” I murmured, speaking more to myself than to her.

Gently, I pressed my lips against hers for one brief second.

She was very still, holding even her breath. I straightened up quickly, waiting for her to breathe again.

She sighed.

“You promised Chief Swan that you would have me home early, remember? We’d better get going.”

Helping me again. I wished my weakness didn’t force her to have to be so strong.

“Yes, ma’am.”

I freed her, taking one of her hands to lead her forward on the correct course. We only had ten yards to go before we passed the edge of the wood and entered the huge, open field my family simply called the clearing. The trees had been scraped away by a glacier long ago, and now just a thin layer of soil covered the bedrock beneath. Wild grass and bracken were the only things that flourished here now. It was a convenient play place for us.

Bella was only 10 yards from the clearing and still managed to go the wrong way twice.


Carlisle was setting up the diamond while Alice and Jasper practiced some new tricks she wanted to perfect: If Jasper decided in advance to run a certain direction, Alice could see this decision and throw to his new position before he’d telegraphed the move. It didn’t give them much of an advantage, but as closely matched as we all were, anything had the potential to make them more competitive.

Esme was waiting for Bella and me, with Emmett and Rosalie sitting close beside her. When we stepped into view, I saw Rosalie yank her hand out of Esme’s before she turned her back to us and walked away. Well, she hadn’t promised nice. I knew it was a large enough concession for her to simply be here.

Utterly ridiculous. Esme didn’t agree with me. She’d been trying to cajole Rose out of her mood all afternoon without much effect, and she was exasperated.

It’ll be all right once we start, Emmett was thinking. Like me, he was just relieved Rose had come.

Esme and Emmett moved forward to welcome us. I gave Emmett a cautioning look, and he grinned at me. Don’t worry, I promised.

He eyed Bella with interest. It was one thing to be around humans while visiting in their world, but something else entirely to have one visit ours. It was exciting. And a human who was, to his mind, more or less one of us now. He had only positive experiences with adding to the family. He was eager to include Bella as well.

And hopefully nothing will ever go wrong!


I might have enjoyed his enthusiasm, but underneath his fascination with something new, I could see that he didn’t doubt Alice’s version of things.

I would be patient. They would all come to understand over time.

“Was that you we heard, Edward?” Esme asked. She made her voice louder than was necessary so Bella wouldn’t be left out.

“It sounded like a bear choking,” Emmett added.

Bella smiled shyly. “That was him.”

Emmett grinned at her, pleased with her gameness to play along.

“Bella was being unintentionally funny,” I explained.

Alice was rocketing toward us. I supposed it shouldn’t worry me that she was being so herself. She could see better than I could guess what would frighten Bella and what would not.

Alice has spent 100% of the book's time rolling her eyes at Edward's drama queen behavior.


She skipped to a stop just an arm’s length away.

“It’s time,” Alice intoned solemnly, working the oracle vibe for Bella’s benefit. Thunder shattered the stillness right on cue. I shook my head.

“Eerie, isn’t it?” Emmett murmured to Bella, winking when she looked surprised that he was addressing her. She grinned at him, only a little hesitant.

He glanced at me. I like her.

She hasn't even done anything!


“Let’s go!” Alice urged, reaching for Emmett’s hand. She knew exactly how long we could get away with playing unrestrained, and she didn’t want to waste any time. Emmett was no less eager to get started. Together, they raced toward Carlisle.

Can I have a moment with her? I’d like her to be comfortable with me, Esme entreated. I could see how much it meant to her, for Bella to see her as a person and a friend, not something to be feared. I nodded, then turned to Bella.

“Are you ready for some ball?” I grinned, easily inferring from Charlie’s comments that this evening was an anomaly for her. Well, hopefully we could keep her entertained.

“Go team?”

I laughed at her put-on enthusiasm, and then gave Esme her desired space, chasing after Emmett and Alice.

I listened to Esme chatting with Bella as I joined the others. She didn’t have any information she wanted to impart or extract—she just wanted to interact with Bella—but I was riveted regardless. I divided my attention between that conversation and the one around me.

Of course Meyer is going to force us to re-read stuff we already did, even when Edward is holding a different conversation.


“Edward and I already picked teams,” Rosalie said. “Jasper and Emmett are with me.”

Alice was unsurprised. Emmett liked the odds. Jasper was less enthused; he preferred to work with Alice rather than against her. Carlisle was, like me, pleased at Rosalie’s engagement with the game.

Esme was complaining about our poor sportsmanship, obviously preparing Bella for the worst.

Carlisle pulled out a quarter. “Call it, Rose.”

“She chose the teams,” I objected.

Carlisle looked at me and then pointedly at Alice, who had already seen that the coin would fall heads up.

“Rose,” he said again, and flipped the quarter into the air.


I sighed, and she grinned. Carlisle caught the coin neatly and flipped it onto his forearm.

“Heads,” he confirmed.

“We’ll bat,” Rosalie said.

Carlisle nodded, and he, Alice, and I moved to take our fielding positions.

Esme was telling Bella about her first son now, and I was surprised at the intimate direction their conversation had taken. This was Esme’s rawest wound, but she was gentle and composed as she spoke. I wondered why she’d decided to share that.

When I first read this, I was shocked at how Esme basically introduced herself to Bella by explaining how she lost a child and then threw herself off a cliff. Even Edward can't figure out why she did that here.


Or perhaps Esme hadn’t decided at all. There was something about the way Bella listened.… Hadn’t I been eager to spill every dark secret I’d ever had? Hadn’t young Jacob Black betrayed an ancient treaty simply to amuse her? She must have this effect on everyone.

Ohhhhh, right. She mysteriously has the effect of making everyone instantly tell her all of their deepest secrets and explain the plot and characterization to her as soon as they meet. It's not bad writing at all! It's just her magic power!


I moved into deep left field. I could still hear Bella’s voice clearly.

“You don’t mind, then? That I’m… all wrong for him?” Bella asked.

Poor child, Esme thought. This must be so overwhelming for her.

“No,” she told Bella, and I could hear that this was true. All Esme wanted was my happiness. “You’re what he wants. It will work out, somehow.”

But, like Emmett, she could only see one way. I was glad I was far enough out that Bella couldn’t read my face clearly.

Edward continuing to make overwrought dramatic faces of anguish at all times.


Alice waited until Esme was in the umpire’s position, Bella at her side, before she stepped onto the makeshift mound.

“All right, batter up,” Esme called.

Apr 23, 2014

Out of loving nowhere, I was just suddenly reminded of Vampires Suck.

Dec 26, 2012


I’ve just spent the last few months reading through this and wow...

Back when Twilight came out I was a snobby teenage pseudointellectual who thought herself better than girly romance books, so I read the sporkings and parroted back their lines on how no one with brains would ever think abusive romances should be gushed over, but like a typical pseudointellectual I’d never read the source material being criticised.

Reading this entire thread nowadays after accepting 2000’s spork culture was cringe and I was cringe for participating has been an experience... can’t believe the sporkers were completely correct.

Thank you Chitoryu for your commentary! Getting to see how deeply the Mormonism influenced the story has been fascinating. What a complete and utter failure of a POV choice this entire book has been.

Feb 21, 2006


While some 2000s sporking was absolutely done out of vindictiveness and leaned on shoddy reasoning (ie the vilification of Mary Sues) the first Twilight one I read was written by an ex-Mormon from the Utah/Arizona area who could point out connections like baseball being Family Game Night, Edward described in a way that parallels how Joseph Smith is taught in school, and imprinting a product of the belief your intended is chosen by God before you’re born. But most importantly she never castigated Meyer herself, instead focusing on the product and what its meaning was easily interpreted as despite author intent.

Apr 23, 2014

And I personally have no problems castigating Meyer herself, as I do think this book runs the risk of encouraging harmful behavior and views of relationships in its target audience. To an impressionable 14-year-old non-Mormon, the religious influence is invisible and they're instead just being presented with a story where extremely abusive behavior is forgiven or handwaved and a significant amount of page time is dedicated to justifying child grooming.

Something I've noticed is that the tendency to just repeat common criticisms is endemic even in professional reviewer circles. You see an unpopular book get wrecked in the press but usually you only see about 4 or 5 big highlights of the issues, which make it seem like the reviewers are rushing through the product and missing other things that may be equally or more horrifying.

I recently made the mistake of reading Vagina by Naomi Wolf, an absolutely psychopathic "feminist" book about how the vagina is connected to your entire nervous system and controls your entire body. It's a whole mess of pseudoscience and tantric nonsense, but most reviewers making fun of it stuck to a few particular instances like the time Wolf was presented with vagina-shaped pasta at a party to celebrate her book and was so distraught that she suffered writer's block for 6 months. But they missed a whole bunch of crazy poo poo, like how Wolf has a bizarre obsession with rat sex experiments, or how every single person she meets (who isn't a one-note joke or insult) is someone who perfectly agrees with her position and immediately spouts multiple paragraphs of exposition confirming her theory, even if it means admitting to really embarrassing things to a complete stranger (like "I hated my boyfriend's stupid nerdy T-shirts until he started creampieing me"). Or how there's literally no mention of trans people in the book, and the only time she talks about lesbians is to say that she's never had sex with a woman so she can't comment on how they fit into her theory that women need strong men to do tantric sex on them to unlock their potential and solve all of their emotional issues.

The next book I'm doing after this will be Ready Player Two, and I think you'll get to see a lot more than you knew about if you only read the reviews mocking it.

Sep 12, 2003
Anyone who truly believes he has friends is a fool.

Oh my god spork the vagina book

Apr 23, 2014

Lysistrata posted:

Oh my god spork the vagina book

I did it in a Discord and it's too much. A big problem is that it's a very long book (the length of any one of these) and is filled with tons of data and monologuing from scientists, which may or may not be real (one scientist whose work she quoted toward the end did publicly say that she has no loving idea how Wolf came to the conclusions she did), so actually doing a comprehensive takedown of it would be a large project in which I'd need to be in contact with professionals in the field.

There's also an entire, long chapter dedicated entirely to graphic descriptions of vaginal mutilation and rape in warfare to make the point that women are sad when that happens.


Jan 28, 2013

I was not prepared to live in a world where I laughed at this movie, but the wheelchair fight actually had some decent comedic timing.

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • Post
  • Reply