When we last look at Twilight, Edward had admitted his uncontrollable lust for human blood, and Bella had proclaimed her unconditional, irrevocable love for him. The action picks up the morning after. Was it all a dream? Bella wonders.

I clung to the parts that I’m sure I couldn’t have imagined- like his smell. I was sure I couldn’t have dreamed that up on my own[…] I dressed in my heavy clothes, remembering I didn’t have a jacket. Further proof that my memory was real. p196

I seriously don’t get why Meyer is constantly harping on Edward’s smell. He already has godly looks, super strength, super speed, immortality, and telepathy. Was it really necessary for him to sweat Tag™ Body Spray? I suppose it’s true that olfactory imagery is underused in literature, but this is just creepy. And not in a suspenseful way. It’s also ironic that Twilight was allegedly inspired by one of Meyer’s dreams.

Moving on, Bella is ready to leave the house, when who should she find in her driveway?

It was such a thick fog that I was a few feet down the driveway before I realized that there was a car in it: a silver car. My heart stuttered, thudded, then picked up again double time. I didn’t see where he came from, but suddenly he was there, pulling the door open for me.

“Do you want a ride with me today?” he asked, amused by me expression as he caught me by surprise again. There was uncertainty in his voice. He was really giving me a choice- I was free to refuse, and part of him hoped for that.

Let’s ignore the fact that Bella just described an arrhythmia, and focus on how many mixed messages Edward is sending here. I mean, really, if you didn’t want to give her a ride to school, why did you go out of your way to drive to her house and offer her a ride in the most contrived, “sweep the woman off her feet” manner possible? Yes, he’s supposed to be conflicted. Yes, part of him wants to give Bella a ride (no pun intended). But never in my experience has repressed desire manifested itself with the trappings of a 50s romance novel. You may say that Edward is “uncertain,” but his actions tell a different story. I don’t see how Edward is lauded as this avatar of self-restraint when he’s quite consciously putting the moves on Bella. He isn’t behaving like someone tortured by shame and inner conflict; he’s acting like he wants to get into her pants.

Of course, maybe this why Edward has such broad appeal; he goes through all the motions of romance, despite expecting no payoff.

And of course Bella accepts his offer; how could she refuse? Especially since his unquestionably heterosexual gray knit, V-neck shirt clings tightly to his perfectly muscled chest, leading one to wonder why, if Edward and the Cullens are trying to remain inconspicuous, he wears more skintight clothing than Freddy Mercury?

Oh right… because Meyer cared more about making tweenage girls squeal than writing a believable character.

Anyway where was I? Oh, right, Edward was giving Bella a ride (to school! to school!). On the way, their topics of conversation include: How fragile Bella is, how Edward wants to know everything Bella thinks, how Edward and his family try to blend in, and why they fail so miserably at it.

“Why do you all have cars like at all?” I wondered aloud. “If you’re looking for privacy?”

“An indulgence,” he admitted. “We all like to drive fast.” (p199)

What… Really….? When I read parts of this, I feel like some editor pointed out to Meyer the parts of her manuscript that made no sense (like the Cullen’s flamboyant displays of wealth, or why every boy in Forks was irrationally smitten with Bella) and instead of fixing her story, she just tossed in a few lines of dialogue to lampshade problems. I know I’m beating this point to a pulp, but it’s irritating to me how clearly the author just didn’t care. It’s like she’s saying to her audience with a wink, “I’m aware parts of my story make no sense, but we know you really just want to fantasize about rich vampires who drive expensive cars and wear skintight shirts.” Gah, why is this series so popular?!

Once they arrive at school, they meet Jessica, who is shocked, shocked to see Bella in the same car as Edward Cullen. And since Edward can read the poor girl’s mind, he knows that she plans to grill Bella about him during Trig.

“She wants to know if we’re secretly dating. And she wants to know how you feel about me,” he finally said.

“Yikes. What should I say?” I tried to keep my expression very innocent. People were passing on their way to class, probably staring, but I was hardly aware of them.

“Hmmm.” He paused to catch a stray lock of hair that was escaping the twist at the back of my neck and wound it back into place. My heart sputtered hyperactively. “I suppose you could say yes to the first… if you don’t mind— it’s easier than any other explanation.”

Umm… easier than any other explanation, you say? How about: “We’re just friends. I know he looks a bit intimidating, but he’s actually pretty nice once you get to know him. Ask him about baseball sometime, he’ll talk for hours!” Friends give each other rides to school all the time. I guess what I don’t understand is why the relationship between Edward and Bella couldn’t possibly be platonic. I mean, because he’s pretty, you have to either f*** him or leave him? You couldn’t be happy with a non-romantic, non-sexual relationship? I don’t know. Perhaps they realize that, without a single normal conversation between them, sexual tension is all their relationship has to run on.

I bring this up because, as far as I can tell, there’s no reason for Edward to be romantically interested in Bella. I understand that he’s curious about her unreadable mind and he doesn’t want her to be killed (a trait that most decent human beings would share, at least before they spend 200 pages in her dull little head), but both of these desires could be met without any sexual baggage. Balance that with the fact that he has no idea what Bella would want out of a relationship, how interesting she would be to talk to, what she likes to do, and so on… I read these scenes and I wonder why Edward seems hellbent on contriving as much sexual tension as he possibly can?

Right, right, shameless wish fulfillment

And before I forget, this girl really needs to see a cardiologist. Although, it would be rather ironic if Edward’s protective presence ended up causing a heart attack.

But wait, the fun doesn’t stop there! Here’s the rest of that conversation.

“I suppose you could say yes to the first… if you don’t mind— it’s easier than any other explanation.”

“I don’t mind,” I said in a faint voice.

“And as for her other question… well, I’ll be listening to hear the answer to that one myself.” One side of his mouth pulled up into my favorite uneven smile. I couldn’t catch my breath soon enough to respond to that remark. He turned and walked away. (p. 201)

Ok, full stop. Now, let me talk about domestic abuse. I’ll admit I’m not an expert on the subject, but fortunately I have the internet at my disposal. And funnily enough, every site I’ve visited agrees that in abusive relationships, the abuser will often try to isolate the person they’re abusing, discourage outside relationships, and make them feel that they’re unable to trust others.

Let’s not beat around the bush. Edward’s telepathy is being used to isolate Bella. The message is clear: If she tells anybody anything remotely related to Edward, he will pick it from their thoughts and use it against her. There is not a soul she can confide in that will not unintentionally betray them to Edward. She has literally nobody to trust. But of course, the only thought that flutters though our idiot protagonist’s mind is “OMG teh sexy boy wants to know what I think! I be Hyperventrilating!!”

How very inconvenient his little talent could be—when it wasn’t saving my live (p 202)

If by inconvenient, you mean Orwellian, then yes.

EDWARD CULLEN’S DOMESTIC ABUSE CHECKLIST: Do you…. – isolate you girlfriend, and make her feel there is nobody she can trust?

Either way, we go on to talk to Jessica, who grills Bella about the previous evening. Bella spends most of the conversation evading, but Jessica is persistent, and eventually Bella tells all. In the meantime, we get to see Jessica act like a painfully stereotypical bimbo to make Bella look less shallow by comparison.

“Oh well. He is unbelievably gorgeous.” Jessica shrugged as if this excused his flaws. Which, in her book, it probably did.

This from the girl who felt flattered because she was being stalked? Oh, the irony, it hurts!

“There’s a lot more to him than that.”
“Really? Like What?”

Damn good question, Jessica, which Bella can’t answer. Instead, she mutters something vague and thinks to herself how wonderful Edward is for wanting to help people, despite his cool supernatural powers. Imagine, someone using superpowers to do good in the world! What a novel, and totally original concept.

SHIIIIIIIT, Sepehenie, looks like somebody beat you too it.

Anyway, they talk more. (God, how many times have I typed that in this series? It seems every third paragraph can be summed up with the words “they talk more”.)

“So, do you like him, then?” She wasn’t about to give up.

“Yes,” I said curtly.

“I mean, do you really like him?” she urged.

“Yes,” I said again, blushing. I hoped that detail wouldn’t register in her thoughts.

She’s had enough with the single syllable answers. “How much do you like him
p. 205

I suddenly feel smaller. My voice is cracking. My feet are too big for my legs, and I feel clumsy… They’re teasing me. No, I don’t like her! Not at all! I swear I hate girls. They have cooties and they’re nasty and they hit me. Why, what did I do to give the impression that I was in any way attracted to her?

Pant. Pant Oh god, this book is giving me flashbacks to the fifth grade. We’re just going to move on before I have to remember anything else from that awkward, awkward stage of my life.

So Bella spills all, saying how she’s totally fallen for him, and he can’t possible care for her as much as she cares for him. Jessica takes this in stride, and eventually Bella shifts the conversation to Mike, giving Jessica even more opportunities to appear ditzy and self-centered (“Let’s totally parse and analyze the vocal inflection of every word Mike said!”), proving (in case anyone doubted) that the point of every secondary character in this book is to be compared unfavorably with Edward if male, or Bella if female.

Finally free of Jessica, Bella meets Edward on the way to her lunch, and in her mind gushes some more about his appearance before they sit down to eat. Is it too late to start a cream count? Bah. They talk about boring things for a while. Can Edward eat human food? He can. Does Bella like him? She does, and Edward spends several pages bemoaning the fact, because he’s SOOO DANGERUS! Then why are you putting the moves on her, Eddy?

“Do you truly believe you care for me more than I care for you?” He murmured, leaning closer to me as he spoke, his golden eyes piercing.

I tried to remember how to exhale. I had to look away before it came back to me. “You’re doing it again,” I muttered.

His eyes opened with surprise. “What?”

“Dazzling me,” I admitted.

Playing innocent again, eh Edward? You tricky bastard. I bet the ladies just eat that up.

“It’s not your fault,” I sighed. “You can’t help it.”

It seems they do… Incidentally, Cream Count: Infinity +1.

As their conversation continues along its melodramatic way, Edward wonders why Bella believes he doesn’t care about her, and she wangsts a little about how ordinary she is in comparison to his godlike perfection (kill me now). Of course, Edward insists that she’s a bombshell, since he apparently knows every pitiful fantasy that every the other boy in the school has had about her (… squick). Then they argue some more about who cares about the other more.

Bq. “Don’t you see? That’s what proves me right. I care the most because, if I can’t do it”—he shook his head, seeming to struggle with the thought—“if leaving you is the right thing to do, then I’ll hurt myself to keep from hurting you, to keep you safe.” (p. 211)

If you understand what Edward is saying here, please tell me, because I can’t make head nor tail of this dialogue. Either way though, I think we can agree he’s laying it on pretty thick. And then the conversation shifts to how weak and vulnerable Bella is, and how her safety requires Edward’s constant attention. Then he teases her about her crippling clumsiness. It’s all really, really sweet.

EDWARD CULLEN’S DOMESTIC ABUSE CHECKLIST: Do you…. – isolate you girlfriend, making her feel like there is nobody she can trust? – belittle your girlfriend, making her feel helpless?

Anyway, as they plan their trip to Seattle, Edward brings up some fatalistic mumbo jumbo about how Bella’s “number has been called”, and for that reason he’s unwilling to leave her alone for any length of time. I get the distinct feeling that Stephenie Meyer is insisting, for those who doubted, that stuff will actually happen in this book. After all, Bella is fated to be in danger. It’s gotta come eventually, right? Right?

… Right?

And that’s about all we have for this chapter. Tune in next time as add even more items to EDWARD CULLEN’S DOMESTIC ABUSE CHECKLIST.

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Comment

  1. Romantic Vampire Lover on 16 May 2010, 16:17 said:

    Perceptive, sarcastic and humorous, as usual. Thanks muchly, Arty. :D

  2. Puppet on 16 May 2010, 16:43 said:

    I’ve missed these. :D

    Another great addition, Artimaeus.

  3. Artimaeus on 16 May 2010, 17:17 said:

    Yea, a lot of stuff has gotten in the way of me continuing the series. Fortuanelty, now that the worst of my testing is behind me, I should be able to put these out a bit faster (yea, I’ve said that for just about every article, but this time I mean it XP)

  4. Nate Winchester on 17 May 2010, 07:25 said:

    Of course, Edward insists that she’s a bombshell, since he apparently knows every pitiful fantasy that every the other boy in the school has had about her (… squick).

    That. That right there is why, if I could read minds but was stuck in high school I would just kill myself.

  5. Steph (...who is forever and ever the love of Edward Cullen's life!!1!) on 17 May 2010, 11:57 said:

    It’s like she’s saying to her audience with a wink, “I’m aware parts of my story make no sense, but we know you really just want to fantasize about rich vampires who drive expensive cars and wear skintight shirts.” Gah, why is this series so popular?!

    (The irony is that you just did nothing towards answering your own question.)

    Artimaeus, you’re back and I love you for it!

    But, uh, not in the way I love Edward Cullen. Nothing comes close to that.

  6. fffan on 18 May 2010, 01:48 said:

    Afroman reminds me of Reginald Timblywick the Third. :P

  7. RandomX2 on 19 May 2010, 18:02 said:

    I dunno man, I don’t think this whole thing can be sporked. It tires me to read this (not a reflection of your sporking talents; the story is so monotonous that it hurts my head).

    Also, the second-last quote comes up as “Bq. (Quote)” instead of (Quote) in a quote-box.

  8. Artimaeus on 24 May 2010, 22:01 said:

    That’s a concern I’ve been having as well. I don’t know, maybe I should just knock out all of the boring chapters all in one long article. Because, really, nothing is happening.