Chapter 15 – THE CULLENS
Merry Christmas! What better gift to receive than that of the gift you never wanted? More Twilight! By the way, I don’t know why this stocking exists. It shouldn’t, but it does. Hello, nightmare fuel.
You’ll remember that in the last chapter, Bella fell asleep in her room lying in Edward’s freezing cold embrace. She likes that, apparently. So, she wakes up and remembers, “Oh, yeah, that happened.” As it turns out, Edward stayed the night. Or, to be more precise, he left at some point to change clothes and freshen up and then came back. Bella’s dad is gone for the day, so they’re free to talk and do as they please.
“You were very deeply asleep; I didn’t miss anything.” His eyes gleamed. “The talking came earlier.”
I groaned. “What did you hear?”
His gold eyes grew very soft. “You said you loved me.”
“You knew that already,” I reminded him, ducking my head.
“It was nice to hear, just the same.”
I hid my face against his shoulder.
“I love you,” I whispered.
“You are my life now,” he answered simply.
Man, the things wrong with this exchange. For one, the both of you are too young (er, yeah, I guess Edward could be considered “young”) and immature to be in “love” so quickly, but I suppose it IS somewhat realistic for young first-loves to not really know any better. But secondly, Bella tells Edward that she loves him, and… well, he doesn’t EXACTLY acknowledge it. Sure, he says, “You are my life now,” but that’s not really the same thing as, “I love you.” Also, your life should never be all about somebody else, but that’s just extra personal nitpick.
A couple of pages go by where they talk about eating breakfast. Thrilling, I know. This is soon followed by Edward presenting the idea of introducing Bella to his family. Bella’s afraid, not that the family will eat her, but that they won’t like her. Priorities, not very straight. Edward says that his sister Alice saw with her magical vampire powers that Bella would be coming, but he phrases it very strangely.
“So did Alice see me coming?
His reaction was strange. “Something like that,” he said uncomfortably, turning away so I couldn’t see his eyes. I stared at him curiously.
Bella notices his response, but chooses not to be too terribly concerned about it. If that were me, I’d be questioning it up and down. But then, I’ve also been known to not be able to let go of things like that very easily and badger it out of people, so, maybe that’s just my irritating personality.
“And you should introduce me to your father, too, I think.”
“He already knows you,” I reminded him.
“As your boyfriend, I mean.”
I stared at him with suspicion. “Why?”
“Isn’t that customary?” he asked innocently.
“I don’t know,” I admitted.
This is frustrating. I somehow just sort of feel like she shouldn’t have had to ask “why”, that she should have known what was customary and what wasn’t. I realize that she grew up in a broken home with a somewhat flighty mother, but she’s also a reader of many a classic literature. Shouldn’t she have a slight understanding of what’s customary when it comes to relationships and what isn’t? I feel like she SHOULD be well-educated enough, but she doesn’t ever act like it for some reason. I guess being educated isn’t the same thing as being smart.
“Are you going to tell Charlie I’m your boyfriend or not?” he demanded.
“Is that what you are?”
I’m pretty sure you both said you were going out with each other several chapters back (under the teenage connotation of “going out”, you know, not necessarily “going out to places to do things” but “going out meaning you’re an item”) so, yes, he’s your boyfriend. He’s BEEN your boyfriend. I mean, unless you don’t want him to be, I suppose.
“I was under the impression that you were something more, actually,” I confessed, looking at the table.
“Well, I don’t know if we need to give him all the gory details.
What? What in the hell are you guys talking about? Something more? More than your boyfriend? Like what? He’s not your fiancé, he already told you he didn’t think it was possible for the two of you to marry. Is there something between dating and engaged? Like, promised, maybe? But… there was no promise, so… what? And, Edward, what “gory details” are you talking about? The context sort of insinuates that you’re taking about the details of your relationship, but nothing has happened. You’ve kissed once and very timidly danced around the idea that you’re physically attracted to one another. I mean, I SUPPOSE you could give up the details that you’ve been standing in Bella’s room every night for months on end, maybe that’s what you’re getting at, but I’m not so sure. Maybe he’s talking about the fact that his daughter is going steady with a vampire, but in context I don’t think THAT’S what he’s talking about, either. So… what the hell, you two? What the hell?
“Will you be?” I asked, suddenly anxious. “Will you really be here?”
“As long as you want me,” he assured me.
“I’ll always want you,” I warned him. “Forever.”
He walked slowly around the table, and, pausing a few feet away, he reached out to touch his fingertips to my cheek. His expression was unfathomable.
“Does that make you sad?” I asked.
He didn’t answer. He stared into my eyes for an immeasurable period of time.
Isn’t it a little early to determine how long you’re going to want someone? No wonder he won’t answer you! You’ve totally caught him off guard, and surely he’s finding your behavior a little bit rash. And, his expression is “unfathomable”? Then what are we, the audience supposed to think of the look on his face? It means I have no idea what the look on his face is saying! I can’t get a mental picture for that!
Bella gets dressed. Puts on a skirt, even.
“You are utterly indecent – no one should look so tempting, it’s not fair.”
“Tempting how?” I asked. “I can change…”
He sighed, shaking his head. “You are so absurd.” He pressed his cool lips delicately to my forehead, and the room spun. The smell of his breath made it impossible to speak.
“Shall I explain how you are tempting me?” he said. It was clearly a rhetorical question. His fingers traced slowly down my spine, his breath coming more quickly against my skin. My hands were limp on his chest, and I felt light-headed again. He tilted his head slowly and touched his cool lips to mine a second time, very carefully, parting them slightly.
And then I collapsed.
So, we almost slip into romance novel territory, but we just barely miss when Bella passes out. Great. If the series continues to write itself like this, it’s going to be a very long read. This isn’t fun or entertaining.
“Yesterday I kiss you, and you attack me! Today you pass out on me!”
She… attacked him? I realize that was two chapters ago, but I don’t recall Bella ever attacking Edward. Not even verbally. Any time she might have ever had reason to get mad at Edward, she doesn’t, because instead of getting mad, she gets flattered or forgets about things. I have no idea what anybody is talking about anymore.
Edward’s home is described as being outside of the main city of Forks, somewhere long past a bridge crossing the Calawah River. Well, there DOES appear to only be one bridge out of Forks that crosses the Calawah River, so this must be riiight abooout…
…here. Well, at least it looks like Meyer looked at Google Maps before writing.
They get up to Edward’s enormous, fancy home in the middle of the woods. They sit inside Bella’s truck for a second.
“You like it?” He smiled.
“It… has a certain charm.”
He pulled the end of my ponytail and chuckled.
“Ready?” he aksed, opening my door.
“Not even a little bit – let’s go.”
I’m confused about this, the way that Edward opened Bella’s door. In one second Edward is pulling on Bella’s ponytail, and the next he’s opening her door. How is he doing that? Did he reach across her in the car after tugging at her and open her door from the inside? Huh, that’s awkward… Or did he suddenly teleport outside without the book telling us? And if he did, at what exact point did he tug at her ponytail? And when he’s outside the door, is he just shouting, “READY!?” so she can hear him through the door? Or did she roll down her window? Is he reaching in the window to tug at her hair? If her window is rolled down, it certainly seemed like she didn’t roll it back up.
We get re-introduced to Dr. Cullen and his wife Esme, who is the only member of the Cullen family she had never met before. Bella gushes about her beauty, just like she does about every member of the Cullen family. It makes me wonder, what exactly is it about vampire venom that causes people to suddenly be beautiful? Especially if beauty is in the eye of the beholder, how does the venom know exactly how to repair and reform the human body into something pleasing to the eye (and nose and ear)? I’d really like to see these things get explained, because as it stands, it simply sounds ridiculous.
Two of the Cullens don’t like that Edward and Bella are together, so they aren’t there. But everybody else is.
“Even Jasper, though…”
“That’s really my fault,” he said. “I told you he was the most recent to try our way of life. I warned him to keep his distance.”
So, I don’t get it. Jasper shows up, but he’s the only one there who doesn’t come all the way up to Bella, because he’s not so good at not eating people yet. And yet it’s okay for him to go to school every day around hundreds of other students that he has to sit nearby all day long? Please. Where’s the consistency?
Also, Edward plays the piano. Really well. And it’s insinuated that he’s composed music. He’s even composed a piece for Bella, apparently. Seems a bit obsessive, but okay. Bella doesn’t respond at all to the fact that Edward has written a song for her. She seems to respond to very little.
“Alice seems very… enthusiastic.”
“Alice has her own way of looking at things,” he said through tight lips.
“An you’re not going to explain that, are you?”
A moment of wordless communication passed between us. He realized that I knew he was keeping something from me. I realized that he wasn’t going to give anything away. Not now.
And just why not? And why don’t you pursue the answer? Again, I wouldn’t be satisfied knowing that somebody was keeping something from me.
This is where Edward brings up that he’s heard that other vampires will be coming to town. These guys eat people, so he wants to keep Bella safe, even if he thinks that those vampires won’t necessarily come all the way into town. This is slightly different than the way the movie portrays this event, as the movie admittedly better intersperses the visitors’ killing of humans outside of town throughout the first half of the movie, better setting up something to be afraid of. Here, however, the subject is barely a paragraph, more than halfway through the novel in chapter 15. It makes me wonder whether I should actually be afraid of the subject or not.
Finally, Bella gets a tiny bit emotional over Edward’s piano performance.
“Thank you,” I murmured. I realized there were tears in my eyes. I dabbed at them, embarrassed.
He touched the corner of my eye, trapping one I missed. He lifted his finger, examining the drop of moisture broodingly. Then, so quickly I couldn’t be positive that he really did, he put his finger to his mouth to taste it.
Weird. Weird, weird, weird. So, he can’t taste your blood, so for now he’ll just drink whatever he can get. Don’t accept that. Tell him to stop.
The family keeps a wooden cross in the house. The characters state that it is indeed ironic, but I’m unsure whether Meyer included it in the vampires’ home because she thought it would be an interesting characteristic or if it’s because it’s yet another subtle way of slipping her personal beliefs into her work of fiction. Considering how many other little things have slipped in thus far, I wouldn’t be surprised if it were the latter.
Edward spends a couple of pages telling the story of Carlisle, who was born in London in the 1640s, and whose father was a religious leader who sent his son off to fight werewolves and vampires, and thus got him tangled up in becoming a vampire himself. Frankly, this is the most interesting piece of information the book presents to us, and it’s presented with the most depth of anything written thus far. Currently, Carlisle seems better elaborated upon than our two main characters. Though, if Carlisle is from London, I slightly wonder why it is that he doesn’t speak with an accent. I mean, maybe I’m just looking too hard. Maybe he had all kinds of time to work on an American dialect. But I find it interesting that, in the movies at least (and yes, I know, I’m reading the book not watching the movie) that Jasper is presented as having a southern accent because he was a southern soldier in the Civil War. Surely, he’s had enough time to NOT sound southern, but he’s held onto it, despite the fact that they live in Washington and their supposed last living location was Alaska. Again, it just seems like more details that don’t feel like they remain consistent.
He smiled. “I expect you have a few more questions for me.”
His smile widened over his brilliant teeth. He started back down the hall, pulling me along by the hand. “Come on, then,” he encouraged. “I’ll show you.”
Show her what? Questions? Answers to questions? I don’t know, that response seemed poorly worded, in personal opinion.
But that’s the sentiment we’re left with at the end of the chapter.
Mostly, this chapter continues to present us with Bella’s over-obsessed behavior for Edward, a couple of Edward’s creeper tendencies, and more of Stephenie Meyer’s poor writing capabilities and under-elaborated scenes. After a chapter like this, I need a good stiff spiked Egg Nog. And I don’t even drink. Next up, Chapter 16.