13 – CONFESSIONS
Edward in the sunlight was shocking. I couldn’t get used to it, though I’d been staring at him all afternoon. His skin, white despite the faint flush from yesterday’s hunting trip, literally sparkled, like thousands of tiny diamonds were embedded in the surface. He lay perfectly still in the grass, his shirt open over his sculpted, incandescent chest, his scintillating arms bare. His glistening, pale lavender lids were shut, though of course he didn’t sleep. A perfect statue, carved in some unknown stone, smooth like marble, glittering like crystal.
Welcome to chapter 13, which was written by Stephenie Meyer after she had a dream about a teenage girl and a vampire who loved her but thirsted for her blood. This is the chapter she wrote first, and then based the rest of the book and back story around it. This, ladies and gentlemen, is the chapter that is THE SOURCE of everything that we later identify as being wrong with the Twilight series.
It’s the moment, from paragraph one of this chapter, where we slowly begin to realize that Edward is a vampire, but in name only, and certainly not because it fits any previous description of what a vampire has been known as over the course of fiction. After all, what vampire is capable of reading minds? What vampire is capable of seeing the future? Oh, right, we haven’t gotten to the vampire with that magical power yet… anyway, what vampire has magical, mythical powers like that?
Add to that the fact that NOW apparently vampires do not have adverse effects to sunlight. It’s certainly bad for them to be seen in sunlight, but not for the reasons you might have expected (if you knew nothing about this story already). No, stepping out into the sunlight in front of humans would alert them to the fact that they are inhumanely gorgeous and sparkly like billions of African blood diamonds. How horrible would that be, if man only knew! I mean, that would of course alert humans to the fact that there is something wrong with the Cullen family. But don’t you think that maybe people would just think, “Huh, well, they’re already painfully beautiful and fashionable… maybe they just really like glittery makeup, too.”
Several paragraphs of gooey loving staring and Bella running her fingers over Edward’s body are written about on the next couple of pages. It’s mostly dumb and slow and boring to read, if not icky to some audiences.
I lightly trailed my hand over the perfect muscles of his arm, followed th faint pattern of bluish veins inside the crease at his elbow.
Is that possible? Let’s think about it. Why is it that, when we look at the veins in our arms and hands, they appear to be blue? It should be due to how much oxygen the blood in the body is getting. But does that even happen in a vampire? Does he even have blood of his own? Does it even move? I mean, I recall hearing that later on Meyer describes vampires as losing their fluids upon turning (though, this is then RETCONNED in Breaking Dawn when Edward is able to inseminate Bella, but that’s an atrocity all on its own).
Bella seems to attempt to kiss Edward. But he freaks out and jumps to the edge of the meadow, slowly calms down, and then comes back to her. He explains that, as a vampire, of course he’s interested in her for much more than just her pretty face and *chortle* great personality.
“I’m the world’s best predator, aren’t I? Everything about me invites you in – my voice, my face, even my smell. As if I need any of that!…
As if you could outrun me,” he laughed bitterly.
…”As if you could fight me off,” he said gently.
…”Don’t be afraid,” he murmured, his velvet voice unintentionally seductive. “I promise…” He hesitated. “I swear not to hurt you.” He seemed more concerned with convincing himself than me.
Oh, yes, you make a BEAUTIFUL case for yourself, Edward. You make startling, threatening announcements about what an amazing killing machine you are, then follow it up with, “But it’s all cool, I promise.” It’s a good thing the girl you’re choosing to pursue is a complete dunce, otherwise that approach most likely would have failed.
Ugh, more pages of staring at one another unceasingly, more explanations of, “I’m dangerous, you shouldn’t want to be around me,” “Oh, it’s fine, I want to be with you,” blah, blah, blah.
“How do I explain?” he mused. “And without frightening you again… hmmmm.”
Okay, personal pet peeve, but is it really necessary to have four m’s in “hmm”? I mean, I know it isn’t really a real word to begin with or anything, but still… that just makes it sound like he’s elongating the sound of his thinking for entirely too long.
Edward compares his desire for Bella’s blood to either an alcoholic or a heroine addict aching for a very specific brand of his weakness. He only further continues to solidify the idea that Bella is an object to be consumed. Literally, she serves as his food. He encourages her to keep that in mind. And really, yes, she and the rest of the book-reading audience should keep that in mind. But it seems like neither she nor the young fans of the book really keep this in mind.
What’s bizarre is that it seems like none of the other vampire siblings have ever really had this sensation before, never smelled a human so uniquely delicious to them. Well, save for Emmett, apparently. And he freaked the hell out and ate the person, apparently. So, with very little history of this ever happening, and the one time it did happen it had disastrous results, there’s no reason why any of this experience should appear romantic at all. But Bella is convinced that she’s in love with him anyway and isn’t afraid. This either means that she’s stupid, or she’s falling for all of Edward’s natural weakening features – the gorgeous body, the light-colored eyes, the sparkly skin, the delicious-smelling breath, all of it. And if it’s the latter, that would indicate that Bella isn’t even falling in love of her own free will. It means that she’s been manipulated into it, and why would anyone want to be in a loving relationship with someone who doesn’t actually freely love you back? You know, unless you’re a crazy, manipulative tool. Oh… Is that the answer?
“I thought it would make me deranged that first day. In that one hour, I thought of a hundred different ways to lure you from the room with me, to get you alone. …
You would have come,” he promised
I tried to speak calmly. “Without a doubt.”
Alright. That’s it. That’s the deciding dialogue. She’s just under his magic vampire spell. This is about the farthest thing from “romantic” I can think of.
There’s SEVERAL MORE PAGES of just how tormented Edward is about the idea of killing her, drinking her blood, revealing the vampires for who they are, and ultimately feeling guilt that he hurt his precious Bella… though I can’t figure out any more deep reason why he’s so interested in her past the fact that she smells delicious and he’s wigging out because he can’t read her mind.
Then comes the other stuff. The gross stuff. Or, at least the stuff that SHOULD be gross, if they’d ever even actually say what it was.
He raised his free hand and place it gently on the side of my neck. I sat very still, the chill of his touch a natural warning – a warning telling me to be terrified. But there was no feeling of fear in me. There were, however, other feelings…
And I couldn’t make myself be afraid. I couldn’t think of anything, except that he was touching me.
He opened his eyes, and they were hungry. Not in a way to make me fear, but rather to tighten the muscles in the pit of my stomach and send my pulse hammering through my veins again.
“I wish,” he whispered, “I wish you could feel the… complexity… the confusion… I feel. That you could understand.”
…”Tell me,” I breathed.
“I don’t think I can. I’ve told you, on the one hand, the hunger – the thirst – that, deplorable creature that I am, I feel for you. And I think you can understand that, to an extent. Though” – he half-smiled – “as you are not addicted to any illegal substances, you probably can’t empathize completely.
“But…” His fingers touched my lips lightly, making me shiver again. “There arre other hungers. Hungers I don’t even understand, that are foreign to me.”
“I may understand that better than you think.”
Oh, G- so, are we gonna get it on, or what?
“Can I show you something?” he asked, sudden excitement flaring in his eyes.
“Show me what?”
Oh. Oh, he just want to take her for a run through the forest. That’s cool, I guess.
Bella climbs onto Edward’s back and he runs the two of them at lightning speed back to Bella’s truck. This takes a couple of pages.
And then his cold, marble lips pressed very softly against mine.
That. Sounds. AWFUL.
Seriously! Who wants that!?
And then realize that three books later they’re gonna get quite a bit more intimate, she’s still gonna be human, and he’s going to be absolutely frozen. I can’t imagine a more uncomfortable experience.
Blood boiled under my skin, burned in my lips. My breath came in a wild gasp. My fingers knotted in his hair, clutching him to me. My lips parted as I breathed in his heady scent.
Immediately I felt him turn to unresponsive stone beneath my lips. His hands gently, but with irresistible force, pushed my face back. I opened my eyes and saw his guarded expression.
“Oops,” I breathed.
“That’s an understatement.”
He laughed aloud. “I’m stronger than I thought. It’s nice to know.”
“I wish I could say the same. I’m sorry.”
Alright. So. Meyer obviously wants to describe just how horny these two love birds are, but doesn’t actually want to SAY as much. That’s pretty frustrating and insulting. But then, on top of that, it only further goes to prove that Bella is, interestingly enough, the hornier of the two. It seems to come up consistently over the course of the stories. She just continuously appears to be weak and thoughtless, completely under Edward’s power, even to a point where even Edward is kinda like, “Whoa, hey babe, hold back and chill a second.” If he has this power over women, and he actually doesn’t particularly want it until after marriage, doesn’t he get annoyed by it after a while?
And finally, Edward convinces Bella that he should drive her home rather than him driving her truck.
“You’re intoxicated by my very presence.” He was grinning that playful smirk again.
“I can’t argue with that,” I sighed. There was no way around it; I couldn’t resist him in anything.
Man! Don’t, like, even TRY to fight back or anything. She’s under the influence, and she likes it. Ladies, if you fall in love with a vampire, kiss your free will goodbye. Not like you’ll care by that time.
Good lord, just… All of that was twenty-six pages. TWENTY-SIX PAGES! Twenty-six pages of intense brooding and staring at each other and gushing waves of estrogen and testosterone trying desperately to escape and intertwine with one another but being written in such a way that you’ll either find it supremely disgusting or you’ll find yourself incredibly frustrated because it teases you with disgusting romance and dances around the topic of lust without actually appropriately addressing it. If you’re stupid or aren’t paying attention, you could just about miss the whole thing.
There’s so much not happening mixed with a huge tease and a dash of “What in the hell is a sparkly vampire?”. And the whole chapter just reads like a Harlequin romance novel. It’s pretty much enough romance novel to last me a lifetime. Remember, people. This chapter was the basis of the entire book, based on Meyer’s sexy vampire dream. If that doesn’t speak volumes of this piece of fiction, then I don’t know what else will shake you up about it.
And still, the novel continues. Next up, chapter 14 – Mind Over Matter.