One saving grace is that this chapter marks the midway point. This book is twenty-four chapters long, plus an epilogue. From here on out, it’s a slow maddening march to the end.
Charlie arrives home and Billy makes a plan to stay for a sports game. Bella makes dinner and decides to watch the game, not because it is polite to stay with company but because she’s afraid that Billy will tell Charlie about Edward.
Um Bella, if you’re afraid of your father being aware of who you’re with, it’s probably not a good idea to be with that person. I don’t see why Bella is keeping it a secret anyhow. It doesn’t really make sense on any level.
Firstly, why is she afraid of telling Charlie about Edward? Up to this point Charlie has expressed only good feelings about the Cullen family. He even had a falling out about it with Billy because he likes and respects the Cullens. Edward has never been in any trouble with the law, so he wouldn’t bother Charlie’s cop sensibilities either. Charlie has not forbidden Bella to date. In fact he’s slightly disappointed that she doesn’t want to go to the spring dance with anyone.
Either Bella is getting off on the illicit thrill of having a secret boyfriend, or she’s babying Charlie again. Neither of which does flattering things for Bella’s character. If we assume the former, then Bella has a childish rebellious streak. She only wants to keep things from Charlie because she sees it as a game and it is exciting to sneak things past him. If it’s the later, then she’s treating him like he’s stupid and it’s quite insulting to insinuate that your father, the Police Chief, is somehow too fragile to handle the fact that his daughter has a boyfriend.
Charlie pulls Bella aside to tell her he’s planning another fishing trip. How convenient. Does it assuage the author’s guilty conscience to know that Charlie won’t be waiting on the couch, listening and looking out for the daughter who has a fairly decent chance of never coming home?
Bella goes to school the next day and my lord is this dragging out. It feels like we’ve been at school for a year. Edward is still interrogating Bella about her life at lunch. Bella is upset that he will be leaving school after lunch.
“So where are you going?” I asked as casually as I could manage.
“Hunting.” He answered grimly. “If I’m going to be alone with you tomorrow, I’m going to take whatever precautions I can.” His face grew morose…and pleading. “You can always cancel, you know.”
I looked down, afraid of the persuasive power of his eyes. I refused to be convinced to fear him, no matter how real the danger might be.
Bella, this should scare you to death. Edward is going out to hunt and kill a lot of animals after lunch so he won’t hunt and kill you the next day. And the fact that you’re stubbornly holding on to the idea that you have to be unafraid is stupid. You should be afraid. You’re a human being with survival instinct. I would admire you for looking past fear in other circumstances, but you don’t seem to comprehend the danger at all. Bravery isn’t a lack of fear, its pushing past it to do what you must. Ignorance is stumbling forward blindly into a situation that can get you hurt with no thought for the consequences. You are acting ignorantly Bella.
What’s more is the fact that you have people who love and care about you who would be devastated if you died. I know you don’t think much of them, seeing as you baby them constantly, but this is ridiculous. Alright, if you were the reasoning adult like person people claim you are, you’d be able to reason this out.
If you die, your father will likely fall into a horrible depression. He’ll feel like he ought to have protected you better. He’ll either channel it into constant obsession with finding your killer, or he might decide to end his life. He and your mother will cease to be civil. There will be undeserved blame placed on both parties. Your mother will feel guilty for driving you away to a place where you ultimately died. Your father will feel guilty for not being around to see the warning signs. Both Charlie and Renee will blame him for the actions that got you killed.
So let’s say you were intelligent enough to puzzle this out for yourself, why would you agree to be alone with him? Why not bring Alice, Carlisle, or you know any member of his family along? They’re strong enough to stop him if he loses control. It’s also their family on the line for this, so why not take another precaution?
Oh right. Cause Romance. Gah.
Bella feels bad, mostly for herself, because the Cullens don’t like her.
“They don’t like me.” I guessed.
“That’s not it,” He disagreed, but his eyes were too innocent. “They don’t understand why I can’t leave you alone.”
DUH. You have the potential to ruin everything they’ve worked to build in Forks for an idiotic, creepy, unhealthy relationship that shouldn’t exist.
Rosalie glares at Bella. Bella is confused about her hostility and Edward explains the glaringly obvious. If he kills her, they’ll have to lie low for a long time. He’ll have ruined the human-like façade and they’ll have to live off the radar for awhile until it blows over.
Edward leaves lunch with Alice and Bella goes to her last few classes. After gym, Mike makes a nice gesture and tells Bella that she could tag along with their group to the dance. He’s offering to take her to a party, and to include her in the fun. Of course Bella decides that Mike needs a new asshole, so she rips him a new one.
Bella goes home and once again lies to Charlie about her weekend plans.
I felt so guilty for deceiving him that I almost took Edward’s advice and told him where I would be. Almost.
Then don’t go.
He wants me to be safe. I told myself again and again. I would just hold onto the faith that, in the end, that desire would win out over the others.
But you don’t know that for sure. Don’t go.
But a tiny voice in the back of my mind worried, wondering if it would hurt very much…if it ended badly.
THEN DON’T GO, YOU MORON.
Bella knocks back some cold medicine to get to sleep. As a person who suffers regular insomnia, I really don’t understand why she feels so guilty about doing this. I have no problem taking medicines to sleep if I haven’t slept well in a few days.
Edward arrives in the morning to pick her up, and we glimpse yet more of Bella’s insecurities.
“What’s wrong?” I glanced down to make sure I hadn’t forgotten anything important, like shoes, or pants.
“We match.” He laughed again. I realized he had a long, light tan sweater on, with a white collar showing underneath, and blue jeans. I laughed with him, hiding a secret twinge of regret—why did he have to look like a runway model when I couldn’t?
Bella, Edward has already told you you’re pretty/special/extraordinary this chapter. We don’t need to go through this again.
Edward takes Bella out hiking. Before they get started Edward makes my point quite well.
“No one knows you’re with me?” Angrily now.
“That depends…I assume you told Alice?
“That’s very helpful Bella.” He snapped.
I pretended I didn’t hear that.
“Are you so depressed by Forks that it’s made you suicidal?” He demanded when I ignored him.
“You said it might cause trouble for you…us being together publically.” I reminded him.
“So you’re worried about the trouble it might cause me—if you don’t come home?” His voice was still angry, and bitingly sarcastic.
Really Bella, why do you care so little for your own life? Why would you go out of your way to protect Edward this way? You can at least give your parents a clue who to search for if they found your corpse.
But of course Bella has different priorities as they walk.
I tried to keep my eyes away from his perfection as much as possible, but I slipped often. Each time, his beauty pierced me through with sadness.
Why? Why does this bother you? Are you throwing yourself a pity party because he’s pretty and you’re insecure?
They finally reach the end of the trail and Edward demonstrates why he can’t go into the sun in front of people. Tune in next time for what is possibly one of the least threatening vampire abilities to ever be written.