23. The Truth
The chapter opens with Bella half asleep – her mind swirling through a series of dreams and nightmares with the face of her “angel” being the strongest, most clear part. She begins to wake up, convinced that the ice-cold arms around her must still be part of her dream. But there Eddie-kins is in all his pasty glory when she opens her eyes. Naturally, Bella assumes that she did, in fact, die when she leapt off the cliff, but Edward assures her she’s alive, and slowly the events in Italy start coming back to her.
Edward explains that he’s breaking the rules by being in her room, because Charlie banned him from the house. Bella realizes she has no story to feed to Charlie about where she was for three days, but decides to worry about that later. Details, schmetails. She asks Eddie-kins what he’s been up to since leaving Forks, all the while trying to ignore the feelings of excitement and hope that are bubbling inside of her. She’s still not convinced that she isn’t dreaming. Ed explains he’s been trying his hand – unsuccessfully – at tracking.
And then comes the inevitable, sappy apology from Eddie. He blames himself for everything – namely for putting Bella in more danger without even realizing it when he left. Bella cuts him off with her own angsty spiel. She knows letting Ed off the hook will only result in more bodily holes later, but she keeps it together long enough to tell him that he doesn’t need to feel guilty about her, even if she HAD tried to commit suicide. Dumb, dumb Bella. She can’t leave her feelings of inadequacy behind long enough to listen to anything. Edward tries to correct her, reminding her what he said that one time about not wanting to live any longer than she does. Bella is… confused. We’re just bored by her stupidity.
The holes threaten to rip open again as Eddie continues to explain how he lied to Bella in the forest all those months ago. He wanted it to be a clean break, so that’s why he pretended like he didn’t want her anymore. He says he was amazed that Bella bought it and believed it so easily. Apparently Ed is a better actor than RPattz. Bella doesn’t know how to respond, so she just gapes at him, and he shakes her a few times. Bella starts to cry (surprise, surprise), and is convinced, once again, that she’s dreaming. Edward just keeps telling her he’s sorry, that he loves her, that he was always coming back because he couldn’t live another day without her. *Gag.* Bella still doesn’t believe him (*facepalm*).
Edward asks if Bella still loves him after everything, saying that it’s okay if she’s moved on. But of course Bella’s all, “Of course I love you. You can never escape this love!!” Edward responds by kissing her – a long, sexy kiss that makes her heart race and her breath come out in gasping pants. Edward tells her he’s not leaving her again, but Bella begs him not to make her any promises. Too much hope will just kill her. Edward tries to explain to her that he’d never be strong enough to leave her again; that each passing day apart from her ripped holes in him (oh em gee, he was holey, too!).
Edward then lets slip that he was tracking Victoria, and Bella freaks out at the thought of him facing her down in the woods. But Bella admits Victoria isn’t her biggest worry. She won’t tell Eddie what this biggest worry is (though we assume it’s dumb and angsty), but does bring up the problem of the Volturi again. Edward assures her she doesn’t have to worry about them for a while; they probably won’t even check up on Bella until she’s 30. THIRTY! That’s so ooooollllld.
Bella gets pissed and emo, and she and Edward have the “I-don’t-want-to-stay-human/But-I-don’t-want-to-damn-your-soul” argument again. Some things never change. Bella decides to take some action – she’s going to the Cullen’s house, and they’re going to put her mortality up for a vote. Dun dun dunnnnn.
Best Worst Lines
“It took less than half a second for me to realize that, as long as I was truly insane now, I might as well enjoy the delusions while they were pleasant.” (501)
“This was very good, as delusions went. The face, the voice, the scent, everything — it was so much better than drowning. … His irises were pitch-black, with bruise-like shadows under them. This surprised me; my hallucinatory Edwards were usually better fed.” (502)
“’Edward,’ I said. His name burned my throat a little on the way out. I could feel the ghost of the hole, waiting to rip itself wide again as soon as he disappeared. I didn’t quite see how I was going to survive it this time.” (Just DIE already!)
“I froze, my muscles locking down as if for impact. The fault line in my chest rippled; the pain of it took my breath away.”
“’I could see it in your eyes, that you honestly believed that I didn’t want you anymore. The most absurd, ridiculous concept — as if there were any way that I could exist without needing you!’” (510) (Yeah… AS IF!)
“’When I told you that I didn’t want you, it was the very blackest kind of blasphemy.’” (510)
“So I kissed him back, my heart pounding out a jagged, disjointed rhythm while my breathing turned to panting and my fingers moved greedily to his face.” (Come on. That’s not the only place the fingers of an angsty teenager would be moving greedily to…)
“’Don’t promise me anything,’ I whispered. If I let myself hope, and it came to nothing… that would kill me. Where all those merciless vampires had not been able to finish me off, hope would do the job.” (513) (Oh please, Hope, finish the job!)
“’Before you, Bella, my life was like a moonless night. Very dark, but there were stars — points of light and reason… And then you shot across my sky like a meteor. Suddenly everything was on fire; there was brilliancy, there was beauty. When you were gone, when the meteor had fallen over the horizon, everything went black. Nothing had changed, but my eyes were blinded by the light. I couldn’t see the stars anymore. And there was no more reason for anything.’” (514)
“He laughed without a trace of humor. ‘Just part of the lie, love. There was no distraction from the… the agony. My heart hasn’t beat in almost ninety years, but this was different. It was like my heart was gone — like I was hollow. Like I’d left everything that was inside me here with you.’” (515)
“He took my face between his two stone hands, holding it tightly while his midnight eyes glared into mine with the gravitational force of a black hole.” (What a romantic metaphor.)
“’What choice have I? I cannot be without you, but I will not destroy your soul.’” (518)
Things That Really Irk Us
Bella, as usual. She’s so convinced that Edward can never love a boring, dumb, ugly mortal like her that she refuses to believe anything he says – including that she’s not dreaming. We say he should just forget about her; she is, after all, a boring, dumb, ugly mortal.
Then again, Edward annoys us, too. A lot. His speeches in this chapter are especially painful. With lines like “What choice have I?” we wonder if this is SMeyer’s attempt at making Edward talk in those “cadences from another century”? It doesn’t really matter if it is or not; the dialogue sucks regardless.
Bella freaking out about being *gasp* THIRTY! irks us. It’s just a number, Bella. Your Eddie-kins is well into his 100’s. Get over it.
Great. The relationship is seemingly back on. And this time Edward is even more intent on never leaving Bella’s side in order to keep her “safe.” We have a hunch things will only get more ridiculous and unhealthy from here.Go to Chapter 24.