Tuesday, August 11, 2015

New Moon Chapter 2

Even thought Bella previously claimed that she was looking at six suddenly ravenous vampires, in this chapter she claims that Carlisle was not the only one who stayed calm.

Let's see:

All Vampires Present
1. Carlisle 2. Esme
3. Rosalie 4. Emmett
5. Jasper 6. Alice
7. Edward 8. This Space Reserved

So to recap for Smeyer's benefit,

7 (vampires overall) - 6 (ravenous vampires) = 1 vampire (calm vampire)

So if you assume the one non-ravenous vampire is Carlisle... who ELSE is staying calm? Because if you're suddenly ravenous for human blood, you're CLEARLY not calm. Is there another vampire in the room that we haven't been told about? Or did Smeyer just pull an Atwater-Rhodes and FORGET what she wrote at the end of the last chapter?

Or is she just a dumbass who fails at math?

So anyway, Carlisle tells Emmett and Rosalie to take Jasper outside, while Esme blubbers about how sorry she is that... I dunno, Bella got her arm sliced open? It's not clear. Rosalie is obviously not displeased by this event, and I honestly can't blame her since it just highlights how ridiculous this whole silly arrangement is.

And wait... where is Alice? Why hasn't Alice said anything? Remember her? Li'l Miss "I See The Future"?

She's filled the place with crystal bowls (which can shatter and cut you), glass furniture (ditto), roses (thorns) paper (abnormally deep paper cuts), and presumably something to cut the cake... and yet she isn't able to precognitively figure out that HELLO DIPSHIT, the supposedly life-threatening klutz MIGHT hurt herself. And for fuck's sake, her BOYFRIEND is always on the edge of killing people. How exactly does Miss Sees The Future not see this?

So she can predict Edward's ENTIRE DAY down to a percentage probability of whether he'll kill Bella... but she can't predict whether Bella will injure herself in a room full of potentially hurty things. And she DEFINITELY can't predict whether her own boyfriend will randomly attack Bella.

Also, keep a running tab: In this book and the third book Eclipse, there are COUNTLESS dangers, deaths and problems that could be easily averted if Edward hadn't risked Bella's life so he could AVOID turning her into a vampire in the last book. In fact, the next two books are UTTERLY AND COMPLETELY POINTLESS when you realize that their events would never have happened if he had just let Bella turn into a vampire, or had turned her into a vampire when she requested it.

Edward's face was whiter than bone as he wheeled to crouch over me, taking a clearly defensive position. A low warning growl slid from between his clenched teeth.

But then I gave him a doggy biscuit and some ear scritches, and he went off to chase the neighbor's cat.

Esme's heart-shaped face was ashamed.

The rest of her wasn't. Just her face.

"I'm so sorry, Bella," she cried as she followed the others into the yard.

Sorry for.... what? Bella's injury? Jasper going apeshit? Herself almost going apeshit? What is she saying?

So Carlisle gets Edward to calm down enough to let him by, and Alice fetches random crap for him.

The smell of the blood was making me dizzy. My ears rang.

Lest you forget, a single solitary DROP of blood made her faint in the previous book. Continuity is for those lame GOOD WRITERS.

"Bella," Carlisle said softly. "Do you want me to drive you to the hospital, or would you like me to take care of it here?"
"Here, please," I whispered. If he took me to the hospital, there would be no way to keep this from Charlie.

Yes, because her father might think she had fallen and injured herself, which she allegedly does all the time and which is not a big deal.

Seriously, what the hell is wrong with this idiot? She is asking a VAMPIRE to stitch up her injury while a bunch of OTHER vampires sit outside lusting after her blood.

Edward's face was like stone.

So we've been told. Move on to the next friggin' obvious comment.

So while Carlisle starts working on Bella's arm, he and Bella start trying to convince Edward to get his ass out of here. For some reason, Edward is just HELL-BENT on staying in the room, even though there's nothing he can contribute. And of course he might go insane any minute now.

I winced as Carlisle did something to my arm that stung.

Ooooooooh, did Doctor Carlisle give Bawla an ouchie-booboo? Seriously, two words: LOCAL ANESTHETIC. We in the wide world of readers are not so stupid that we don't know what it is.

"I'll stay," he said.
"Why are you so masochistic?" I mumbled.

Masochism: according to the Random House Dictionary, it is "the condition in which sexual gratification depends on suffering, physical pain and humiliation." It is NOT the same as torturing yourself - it means that you're getting off on suffering. Now that might be an accurate description of Bella, who practically has an orgasm every time Edward treats her like shit, and it might be an accurate description of Smeyer's inner fantasy life. But it is NOT accurate here.

Stephenie Meyer, if you're going to use "big words" from your word-a-day calendar, FIND OUT WHAT THEY FUCKING MEAN.

So Carlisle talks Edward into going to find Jasper, so he can beat the everlovin' shit out of him... I mean, to talk to him. Bella and Alice agree, and Alice says the one good line in this book so far: "You might as well do something useful," Alice added. Now if only she would say that more often.

So Edward runs out, and Carlisle starts stitching up Bella's arm.

There was no pain now, just a gentle tugging sensation that I tried to ignore. No reason to get sick like a baby.

Babies don't throw up when they see blood or wounds. They might cry, or they might poke at it.... but they don't throw up.

And because her fetching role is at an end, Alice... just leaves. What, was it so hard to have Carlisle tell her to get out too?

"Well, that's everyone," I sighed. "I can clear a room, at least."

Yes, yes you can. Just walk into a crowded room and let your personality shine.

"It's not your fault," Carlisle comforted me with a chuckle. "It could happen to anyone."
"Could," I repeated. "But it usually just happens to me."

"Don't you DARE imply that my bad luck is not something specially meant for me! It couldn't happen to anyone, since not every person is idiotic enough to hang around vampires who go berserk at a single drop of blood! I am the only person stupid enough to do THAT!"

So it's time for a rather boring talk with Vampire Joseph Smith, who is going to infodump about the life of a vampire. I swear, Carlisle has to be one of the dullest characters in this entire series. He's SO perfect that there's nothing unpredictable or interesting about him. He's basically a Ken doll. Hell in the movie he even has the SAME KIND OF HAIR as a Ken doll.

"Years and years of practice," he told me. "I barely notice the scent anymore."

Yes, it makes perfect sense that a fluid they NEED TO SURVIVE is something they can just "get over."

Also, he drinks animal blood. Is Smeyer under the delusion that animal blood is somehow vastly different in scent or composition than human blood? BECAUSE IT ISN'T. The blood of a bear or a mountain lion isn't that different from human blood in terms of what it's made of. Sure, you wouldn't wanna transfuse it and it couldn't be mistaken genetically for human blood, but I doubt that it smells or tastes any differently from human blood. Chemically, it's probably not that different.

But what do I know? According to Smeyer, there's some kind of magical distinction between the blood of a human and the blood of a gorilla which lets the vampire's eyes know what color to turn!

"Do you think it would be harder if you took a vacation from the hospital for a long time. And weren't around any blood?"
"Maybe." He shrugged his shoulders, but his hands remained steady. "I've never felt the need for an extended holiday." He flashed a brilliant smile in my direction. "I enjoy my work too much."

"I really enjoy prowling around hospitals looking for terminally ill teenage boys or sexually assaulted girls to add to my creepy little family. Uh, did I say that last part out loud?"

Plink, plink, plink. I was surprised at how much glass there seemed to be in my arm.

"No, don't take it out! It makes me sparkle just like you!"

"What is it that you enjoy?" I wondered. It didn't make sense to me—the years of struggle and self-denial he must have spent to get to the point where he could endure this so easily.

So it doesn't make sense to Bella that anyone would work hard and deny themselves what they want... to be able to do the right thing and help people. Yeah, this is our heroine. Who wants to become a vampire, and thus put all the humans around her at her mercy. And it doesn't make sense to her that any vampire would work his ass off to develop immunity to blood.

... DEXTER is more unselfish than this little cunt. And he's a fucking serial killer.

And I'll admit, Carlisle gives us a decent explanation for his motivation: "Hmm. What I enjoy the very most is when my… enhanced abilities let me save someone who would otherwise have been lost. It's pleasant knowing that, thanks to what I can do, some people's lives are better because I exist. Even the sense of smell is a useful diagnostic tool at times."

And what effect does hearing this have on Bella? NONE. She just changes the subject. Fuck helping other people when you can help yourself!

"You try very hard to make up for something that was never your fault," I suggested while a new kind of tugging started at the edges of my skin. "What I mean is, it's not like you asked for this. You didn't choose this kind of life, and yet you have to work so hard to be good."

And suddenly I remember vividly why I hate Bella with a flaming passion. She's a total sociopath.

I mean, just reread that statement. REREAD IT. She is seriously suggesting that being good, doing the right thing and helping others are things you only do if you're trying to atone for something, and that "being good" isn't worth working at if you have something handicapping you, if it wasn't "your fault" or if you have some kind of excuse for doing something bad. In other words, only be good if you're trying to make up for something bad you've done. If it isn't "your fault," you don't need to actually be good or even TRY to be good.

It honestly sounds like she's trying to find a loophole in the "moral vampire" code, so her royal ass won't have to bother with self-control and unselfishness.

Sounds a bit familiar, doesn't it?

"I don't know that I'm making up for anything," he disagreed lightly. "Like everything in life, I just had to decide what to do with what I was given."
"That makes it sound too easy."

"I mean, you have a totally valid excuse for chugging people's blood like so many Big Gulps. So like, why would you actually do the RIGHT, MORAL thing?"

And before we get more infoduming, Smeyer dazzles us with her descriptive prose: The smell was strange; it made my head spin. The syrup stained my skin. My face was like a flat blank thing. Carlisle is a doctor. This book is shitty.

So Bella asks why VampireJosephSmith even TRIED to be "good" by merely decimating the predator population and screwing up the food chain. Again, she sounds genuinely baffled by the idea that a person might retain their moral senses to, you know, NOT MURDER PEOPLE. And again, THIS IS OUR HEROINE. The reason you have a first-person narrator is supposedly so you can get inside the character's head and experience the world through their eyes... and we're basically being shown that our protagonist has no moral center whatsoever.

And it's pretty bad that a character who is heavily hinted to be a cult-leading pederast IS COMING ACROSS AS THE MOST MORAL PERSON IN THE FUCKING BOOK.

His face was suddenly serious again, and I wondered if his thoughts had gone to the same place that mine had. Wondering what I would be thinking when—I refused to think if—it was me.

"Hmm, is this one gonna go on a killing spree because it's just too hard to stick to your morals? Probably."

So Carlisle talks about how his dad was a horrible repressive clergyman, and how he didn't agree with daddy's witch-burning Bible-thumping brand of Christianity. So he became a Mormon... uh, sorry, he became a vampire, which in this series is effectively the same thing. But he's still a deist of some kind. No, we don't get any friggin' details or specific beliefs, just that he believes in God.

For some reason, Bella is shocked that religion had any part to play in VampireJesus sticking to his faith. After all, she believes in herself and her own superiority, and that's all the religion she needs.

Unsurprisingly - since religion demands that you worship something other than yourself and your sparkly boyfriend - Bella doesn't have any religious beliefs, and is basically implied to be a devout agnostic.

My own life was fairly devoid of belief.

"Fairly" devoid? What the hell does that mean? That sounds like being a little pregnant.

Charlie considered himself a Lutheran, because that's what his parents had been, but Sundays he worshipped by the river with a fishing pole in his hand. Renee tried out a church now and then, but, much like her brief affairs with tennis, pottery, yoga, and French classes, she moved on by the time I was aware of her newest fad.

I'm sorry, what the fuck does this have to do with what BELLA does or doesn't believe in? She's supposedly so mature and independent that she claims to basically rule her mother's life, but her spiritual beliefs depend on what mommy and daddy do? BULLSHIT.

I also find myself wondering why Smeyer decided to write Bella this way, and why she made a point of mentioning that Bella has no religious beliefs WHATSOEVER. I can think of two options:

  1. She thought that giving Bella a distinctive characteristic like a religion would make Bella too ineffectual as a totally bland, boring, unremarkable vessel for teen girl fantasies.
  2. Meyer, who is a Mormon, has some issues with her religion, so this is her passive-aggressive rebellion against it. It's pretty obvious in later books that Smeyer has serious issues with stuff that (if I am not mistaken) is pretty much considered required in the Mormon faith: marriage and kids. So this may be another one of her unsubtle gestures. Consider:
    • She got married at age 21, but her Sue considers marriage a horrifying prospect and ONLY agrees to it because Eddie will turn her into a sparklepire. Without that promise, she would never have done it. And Bella considers getting married to be a huge pain because all she wants is the sparklepeen and her own dose of venom, not MARRIAGE.
    • She has three kids. However when Bella gets knocked up in Breaking Dawn, Edward tries to force Bella to abort; pregnancy is depicted as a horrifying life-sucking abomination; and childbirth is depicted as a terrifying monstrous event that makes the chestbursters from Alien look sedate. Bella is only happy and healthy once she has been safely rendered unable to ever get knocked up again, and when the kid has been handed off to some secondary characters who keep her from having to change diapers or any of that yucky unglamorous stuff.

I honestly don't know whether it's option 1 or 2, or maybe a combination of both. But it does strike me as rather odd since most religious writers have that reflected in SOME way in their main characters or their worldview. Smeyer has an agnostic Sue and an amoral worldview. Then again, that worldview also includes evil Catholic vampires, so it's not totally devoid of her religious viewpoints - she believes devoutly that Catholics are bad.

So Carlisle talks about how he's hoping that maybe he'll get some divine cred, and that he has nothing to lose: "By all accounts, we're damned regardless." Uhhhhhh.... no, I'm pretty sure biological rather than mystical vampirism has nothing to do with God, heaven or damnation. It's pretty obvious this is biological if it's spread through VENOM rather than vague disease-like magic. You fucking moron.

"I don't think that's foolish," I mumbled. I couldn't imagine anyone, deity included, who wouldn't be impressed by Carlisle. Besides, the only kind of heaven I could appreciate would have to include Edward.

And the only kind of heaven I could appreciate includes neither one of them. Because if a selfish amoral bitch and a selfish amoral murderer can get in, it isn't very heavenly and it obviously doesn't have sufficiently high standards. It would be like getting into a high-class cocktail lounge and finding a bunch of beer-swilling frat boys doing a keg stand there.

"And I don't think anyone else would, either."

Except maybe people who have a problem with implied pederasty. Or people who don't like cults. Or people who have a problem with murder. Or well... the Westboro Baptists, who hate everyone.

"Actually, you're the very first one to agree with me."
"The rest of them don't feel the same?" I asked, surprised, thinking of only one person in particular.

"Well, Emmett and Rosalie are Buddhist, so they think we'll reincarnate as someone who won't get horribly killed and brought back as a vampire. Jasper believes in the Force. Alice is searching for a religion quirky enough for a Manic Pixie Dream Girl. And Esme has been taking some Scientology classes - and I can tell you, it's a pain in the ass getting all those copies of Dianetics and hearing about my 'thetans' all the time."

So Carlisle reveals that Edward is "with me up to a point." He believes in God, heaven and hell, but he doesn't think vampires go to either the good or bad place, because he thinks they have lost their souls. Even though their vampirism is BIOLOGICAL, not mystical. But then again, Edward obviously isn't too knowledgeable about theology, because generally Judeo-Christian beliefs about the soul are such that you can't LOSE them.

Also, again, I don't understand WHY he apparently doesn't hold it against Vampire Joseph Smith. I don't know about you, but if some guy decided to take away my soul and deprive me of heaven WITHOUT MY FUCKING PERMISSION, I might feel some resentment.. As in, I would probably kill him.

Also, I don't know where Edward got the idea that vampires lose their souls or are damned or whatever. I mean, it makes sense in folklore and/or other vampire fiction where they are repelled by crosses/holy items, are controlled by demonic forces, can be burned with holy water, are staked with woods that were once considered sacred or magical, and are susceptible to silver and garlic. But Smeyer's vampires don't have any of those characteristics, so where the hell does Edward get the idea that they're soulless? What prompted this idea?

I immediately thought of Edward's words this afternoon: unless you want to die—or whatever it is that we do.

Does Eddie also think plants and amoebas have souls?

The lightbulb flicked on over my head.

Then it sputtered and shattered. There was a faint smell of smoke.

Carlisle spoke slowly. "I look at my…son. His strength, his goodness, the brightness that shines out of him—and it only fuels that hope, that faith, more than ever. How could there not be more for one such as Edward?"

  1. Smeyer, just because you SAY it doesn't mean it's even remotely believable.
  2. ... what strength, goodness and brightness? I mean, what good things has Edward even done in this series? SERIOUSLY, name one generous unselfish thing he has done.
  3. And no, saving Bella from anything doesn't count, since that still counts as selfish because he wants to drink/control/fuck her.
  4. And what brightness? He's always dark, depressing and outright gloomy. He's as bright as a lump of coal.
  5. Also, this is a guy who berates, bosses and mocks his girlfriend regularly, and who does shit like physically forcing her to sit in his lap. Not to mention creeping into her room to watch her sleep. Hell, he actually seems to take sadistic delight in seeing her crying, upset, angry or humiliated.
  6. And of course, he treats the rest of his "family" like shit. I guess Carlisle didn't hear about him shrieking cusses at Alice in the last book for refusing to obey him.
  7. It makes you wonder what Vampire Joseph Smith would think if he had Edward's mind-reading powers. After all, we have part of a book from Edward's perspective, and he is a HORRIBLE person. He loathes humans, he loathes other vampires, he sadistically enjoys others' suffering, he considers himself better than everybody else, he coldly schemes to murder an entire classroom of teenagers, and he just generally is a bitchy, whiny, obnoxious emo asshole who treats other people like shit.

But of course, Bawla immediately agrees with him, and then demonstrates that she's a HUGE hypocrite.

"But if I believed as he does…" He looked down at me with unfathomable eyes. "If you believed as he did. Could you take away his soul?"

.... which becomes a moot point when you note that neither of them had souls to start with.

If he'd asked me whether I would risk my soul for Edward, the reply would be obvious. But would I risk Edward's soul? I pursed my lips unhappily. That wasn't a fair exchange.

"Caaaaarliiiiissllle, that's not faaaaaaaiiiirrrr. You're asking me HAAAAAARD QUESTIONS!"
".... I have no idea why Edward puts up with you."

So Bella keeps insisting that it's HER choice to become a vampire, and Carlisle insists that it's Edward's as well. After all, he has a penis and that automatically makes him the boss. Bella hints that Carlisle could do it instead, and he refuses.

But then he sighed. "That's the one part I can never be sure of. I think, in most other ways, that I've done the best I could with what I had to work with. But was it right to doom the others to this life? I can't decide."

Uh, no. Not without even GIVING THEM A CHOICE.

I swear, that is how warped this series is. The vampires are just fine with turning a person who can't say yes or no, and who in one case was SUICIDAL and wanted to die. Nobody resents it at all. But a person ASKING to become a vampire? Ooooh, that's too morally questionable. We can't do THAT. We have to wait until you leap off a cliff or get gang-raped or get mauled by a bear, and are unable to say "no."

And "right"? No, none of his motives were "right." They were all for purely selfish motives - he wanted a boytoy, he wanted a girlfriend, he decided to make Edward a girlfriend because he thought it would be cute...

I didn't answer. I imagined what my life would be like if Carlisle had resisted the temptation to change his lonely existence… and shuddered.

That's right: selfishness is A-okay if it means Bella will get what she wants.

"It was Edward's mother who made up my mind." Carlisle's voice was almost a whisper.

And meanwhile, from outside: "Hey Carlisle, are you finished yapping in there? We've been sitting outside doing nothing for half an hour. CARLISLE?"

He stared unseeingly out the black windows.

... what black windows? Why? Oh wait, this is Smeyer's attempt to show us that it's dark outside, even though we fucking KNOW there are lanterns everywhere.

So Carlisle starts yammering about how Edward looks just like his mommy, and how Edward's mom basically killed herself trying to care for him EVEN THOUGH THEY WERE IN A HOSPITAL. Clearly Edward inherited his brains from his mom. What does Bella absorb from this lecture? Only the important stuff, like how Edward's eyes used to be green. I suspect she's busy licking Edward's photo while Carlisle reminisces.

So he talks about how he had gotten attached to Edward and his mom, "always a dangerous thing to do considering the fragile nature of humans." So, why didn't he turn Edward's mom into a vampire? No reason. I guess she just didn't do it for him like a suicidal chick with daddy issues and an obsession with babies would.

"'Save him!' she commanded me in the hoarse voice that was all her throat could manage."

"And by that, I mean turn him into a vampire!"

The fever was so high, she probably couldn't even tell how unnaturally cold mine felt. Everything felt cold to her skin.

Yes, because icy-cold hands would NEVER be noticeable in a DOCTOR. What, does he not touch his patients unless they're dying?

"You must," she insisted, clutching at my hand with enough strength that I wondered if she wouldn't pull through the crisis after all. Her eyes were hard, like stones, like emeralds. 'You must do everything in your power. What others cannot do, that is what you must do for my Edward."

"And by very vaguely implying that I somehow know you're a vampire, I'm implicitly giving you permission to vampirize my kid."

Y'know, it occurs to me that Smeyer was probably told after Twilight came out that the whole Carlisle-Edward thing comes across as a creepy sexual-predator kind of thing. So lest the readers actually think that one of her beloved "perfect" characters is a pedophile, she whipped up this whole backstory to make it "okay" and so it doesn't sound like Carlisle is a selfish dick and/or a pederast.

"I'd spent decades considering the idea of creating a companion for myself. Just one other creature who could really know me, rather than what I pretended to be. But I could never justify it to myself—doing what had been done to me."

"... and by that, I mean I never found a teenager pretty enough who also didn't have any parents."

"Elizabeth's words echoed in my head. How could she guess what I could do? Could anyone really want that for her son?"

The answers: she couldn't, and she undoubtedly didn't. Nobody looking at Smeyer's vampires would think "vampire," so I doubt Edward's mother thought that he was. Now, she could easily have guessed that he was some kind of supernatural being and believed that he might have special powers, but NOT A VAMPIRE.

Sorry Smeyer, but you can't just blot out all the unromantic, non-"perfect" vampire lore. A woman in the earliest years of the 20th-century would think of a Bram Stoker antagonist if you mentioned a vampire, not a sparkly Ken doll. In turn, if she saw a sparkling Ken doll, she would not immediately think "vampire."

"I looked at Edward. Sick as he was, he was still beautiful."

Yeah, this doesn't lessen the "Carlisle is a pedo" vibes at all.

"There was something pure and good about his face."

Because if Terry Goodkind has taught us anything, it's that a person's moral qualities are all displayed on the outside.

"The kind of face I would have wanted my son to have."

Sorry, doesn't lessen the creepiness. It just increases it.

"I wasn't sure what had to be done. I settled for recreating the wounds I'd received myself, so many centuries earlier in London. I felt bad about that later. It was more painful and lingering than necessary.

So apparently he LIVED with the Volturi for several years, but he still doesn't have a clue how baby vampires are made.

Also, it's interesting that Carlisle is basically admitting that he vampire-raped Edward, an event that caused CARLISLE to become a woobie who tried and failed to kill himself several times... and we're not supposed to have a problem with that, since he made Edward a sparkly immortal hottie. And he did it for NO REASON other than that he wanted a pretty teenage boy companion.

So Carlisle reminisces about how since nobody else was there, he could sod...um, vampirize Edward without anybody noticing, and then whisk him back to his home. Again, I'd like to point out that Smeyer is always beating us over the head with "vampirizing/bloodsucking = sexual metaphor!!!!!!!" with Edward and Bella. She's not even subtle about it - she actually has Edward insisting that he won't vampirize/screw Bella until they're married.

.... yet of course, when a grown man does it to a teenage boy, it doesn't have ANY sexual connotations at all. Oh no, bloodsucking and vampirizing isn't at ALL sexual if it's MAN ON MAN, just when it's a pair of hot heterosexual teenagers. Whatever issues I have with Anne Rice's fiction, at least she didn't shy away from this.

"I wasn't sorry, though. I've never been sorry that I saved Edward."

"... even though I basically raped him and, in his opinion, took away his soul. But since he's 'perfect,' I couldn't be sorry about it."

So then Edward comes back in from the dining room... even though he was supposed to have left the HOUSE and gone after Jasper. Yes, apparently super-silent vampires don't have to open doors to get inside - they just silently drift through the walls like ghosts. And he's apparently upset, but instead of leaving it up to our imaginations she insists on infodumping us.

"Yes," Carlisle agreed. "Tonight is exactly the kind of thing that he fears the most. You being put in danger, because of what we are."

"Well, maybe not the MOST. He's way more scared of clowns. And grasshoppers. And disco music. Actually, he fears a lot of stuff more than you being put in danger."

"It's not his fault."
"It's not yours, either."
I looked away from his wise, beautiful eyes. I couldn't agree with that.

How is it her fucking fault?! For accidentally cutting her finger? So it's HER FAULT some asshole went insane and tried to attack her? Somehow I suspect that if Bella were raped, she would decide it was her fault for being so very alluring.

So Esme is cleaning the floor, presumably so her vampire family won't go insane and start licking it. Which is friggin' hilarious, and I want to see that happen.

"I'm fine," I assured her. "Carlisle sews faster than any other doctor I've had."
They both chuckled.

"Haha, it's funny how over-the-top clumsy you are and how frequently you get injured."

So Alice gets Bella a shirt that looks vaguely like the one she was wearing, because since Charlie is a man, he doesn't notice anything about clothes. Bella could walk in wearing a clown suit and he wouldn't notice! Because men don't notice clothes! Stereotypes are what make the world go round!

And apparently it's too much for Bella to just say she got cake on her clothes, which would technically be true - no, they have to try to TRICK him.

The long white bandage on my arm didn't look nearly as serious when I was no longer spattered in gore. Charlie was never surprised to see me bandaged.

... if he's not surprised to see her bandaged, why the fuck are they trying so hard to hide the fact that she got hurt? Does she just put bandages on for fun?

So Alice reveals that Jasper is upset about what happened, unsurprisingly.

"He's very unhappy with himself. It's all so much more of challenge for him, and he hates feeling weak."
"It's not his fault. You'll tell him that I'm not mad at him, not at all, won't you?"

That's right, Bawla. Make it all about YOU, rather than about HIS struggles and HIS feelings.

So Edward continues being weird and silent, even by his exalted standards of weirdness. They continue being silent and weird inside the car, and they don't play any music to maximize the silent weirdness.

"Say something," I finally begged as he turned onto the freeway.
"What do you want me to say?" he asked in a detached voice.

"Tell me I'm a bad girl! Tell me I'm stupid! Tell me I'm crazy! SPANK ME!"

I cringed at his remoteness. 'Tell me you forgive me."



That is so fucking stupid that even Edward - a sadistic misogynist who treats her like a drooling child - actually gets angry over Bella's "oh noes, I got a paper cut IT'S ALL MY FAULT HIT ME AND TELL ME I'M A WORTHLESS WHORE!" Bella keeps whining about how it's all her fault and how if she had been more careful this never would have happened.

Edward gets enraged by her comments, and starts ranting about how if she had cut herself at a party with her human friends that we never see, "the worst that could possibly have happened would be what? Maybe they couldn't find you a bandage?" So much for his ridiculous claim that she magnetically attracts trouble - now he claims it only finds her when she's around vampires.

"If you'd tripped and knocked over a pile of glass plates on your own—without someone throwing you into them—even then, what's the worst? You'd get blood on the seats when they drove you to the emergency room?"

Uh no, the worst case scenario when someone smashes into glass is that they FUCKING DIE. Glass is sharp, and if it punctures a major artery you can die.

"Mike Newton could have held your hand while they stitched you up—and he wouldn't be righting the urge to kill you the whole time he was there."

Oh, I wouldn't bet on that. I always make the assumption that EVERYBODY around Bella is fighting the urge to kill her.

I fucking hate this scene. It just sums up everything I hate about Bella and Edward, both together and separately. And again, this is another problem that could be easily solved by having Bella be turned into a vampire!

Well, here are my takes on this miserable sitch:

  1. Yes, it is Edward's fault. Courtesy of his MIND-READING powers, he is fully aware that Jasper is always on the verge of lunging out and killing people ALL THE FUCKING TIME, or whenever the plot demands it. That is his THING. It's even highlighted in that shitty book from Edward's perspective that Alice and Edward are always babysitting him lest he gobble down the algebra teacher.
  2. He also knows that his girlfriend is always injuring herself and thus BLEEDING all over the place. Yet he insisted on taking her to their remote house and having her open various presents by herself. Was he also going to insist that she prepare sushi for herself with big gleaming knives?!
  3. Buuuuuutttt with all that in mind, he forces her to go to this little party with him. He KNOWS all the risks ahead of time, but either he didn't give a shit about the risks or he's too stupid to put the pieces together.
  4. Ridiculously Clumsy Sue + Vampire With No Self-Control = INSTANT MAYHEM. This is not hard to figure out!
  5. (I could argue that it's Alice's fault too. Remember those convenient future-seeing powers? NOT EVEN MENTIONED).
  6. However, it is ALSO Bella's fault because she's always making a huge deal out of how absurdly clumsy she is and how she's always injuring herself, and yet she actively chooses to spend all her time hanging out AT A HOUSE OF VAMPIRES.
  7. In conclusion, I hope Bella and Edward both die in a nuclear explosion.

"How the hell did Mike Newton end up in this conversation?" I demanded.
"Mike Newton ended up in this conversation because Mike Newton would be a hell of a lot healthier for you to be with," he growled.
"I'd rather die than be with Mike Newton," I protested. "I'd rather die than be with anyone but you."

I'd say that "health" is already a distant dim dream as far as Bella's concerned. Mentally and psychologically, she's so unhealthy that she's legally dead.

Also, again, if he's SO concerned with how "healthy" he is for her to be around, WHY does he keep taking her miserably smelly ass to his vampire family's house?!

"Don't be melodramatic, please."

For once, I agree with Edtard. (No, that isn't a typo)

"Well then, don't you be ridiculous."

Uh, how is it "ridiculous" for him to say that it would be healthier for her to hang out with people who don't want to suck her blood? Oh wait, this is Bella we're talking about. With her, bad is good, black is white, up is down, assholes are angels, and a "healthy" relationship is one with the maximum amount of abuse, danger and misery.

So Edward fumes Byronically for the rest of the drive, and then sits in the car sulking after they get to Bella's house. And since Bella loves it when he treats her like shit, she immediately starts begging him to screw her all night long platonically cuddle through a quilt. Would it surprise anybody if it turned out that Edward was manipulating her to that end?

STEPHENIE MEYER LIFE RULE #534: If your boyfriend throws a tantrum and rants incoherently at you about how self-loathing he is, you should deal with the situation by begging for him to creep into his room.

"For my birthday," I pressed.
"You can't have it both ways—either you want people to ignore your birthday or you don't. One or the other."

But she is a Sue! Having it both ways is a WAY OF LIFE.

So Bella flips the Birthday Switch for the 209th time that day, and says that she wants his sparklepeen him to acknowledge her birthday and do as she says.

I hopped out, reaching back in for my packages. He frowned.
"You don't have to take those."
"I want them," I responded automatically, and then wondered if he was using reverse psychology.

.... do we need any further proof that Bella just wants the reverse of whatever she's offered? She's like a friggin' cat who doesn't want their food until someone starts taking it away. Bella HERSELF just confirmed it.

"Here Bella, we have a nice surprise for you."
"OH THE HORROR! Someone paid attention to me! Someone spent money on me! Woe is me! My life is a morass of pain and suffering. WOE!"
"Okay fine, you ungrateful bitch. We'll take the presents back."

"No, you don't. Carlisle and Esme spent money on you."

"And as we all know, you're an ungrateful bitch who just wants hotel lotion bottles, coupons and used sample cups from Costco."

But since Bella has done her whole "I'm so humble and don't want gifts!" spiel, she now has her claws dug into the presents she insisted she didn't want. Edward trots off with the gifts to her room, and Bella goes in to see her Unglamorous Boring Dad Who She Doesn't Even See As A Father, who watches sports and sits around barefoot. You know, like ACTUAL men and not sparkly Abercrombie &Fitch models.

They have a massively dull conversation about presents and what a pain in the ass Alice is and how Bella "tripped" and hurt her arm.

I hurried up to the bathroom, where I kept my pajamas for just such nights as these.

"And by 'pajamas,' I mean a lacy bra and thong panties."

So Bella goes through the motions of hygiene, and then wanders into her bedroom. Edward is already on her bed playing with her unwrapped presents.

"Hi." I snuggled into his stone chest. "Can I open my presents now?"
"Where did the enthusiasm come from?" he wondered.

"From the fact that I've already done my 'humility' act, so now I can claim all the tributes I deserve."

So it turns out Carlisle and Esme gave her two tickets to Jacksonville, because as a family of "perfect" stalkers they MUST know where Bella's mom lives.

"I can't believe it. Renee is going to flip! You don't mind, though, do you? It's sunny, you'll have to stay inside all day."

"You know, like you do around HERE, except in Florida."

"If I'd had any idea that you could respond to a gift this appropriately, I would have made you open it in front of Carlisle and Esme. I thought you'd complain."
"Well, of course it's too much. But I get to take you with me!"

So basically Bella doesn't have a problem with people spending money on her as long as she can assure them that she TOTALLY doesn't want the gifts and is COMPLETELY ungrateful, and she DEFINITELY doesn't have a problem with it if it means spending time with her boyfriend. What a wonderful heroine we have.

He chuckled. "Now I wish I'd spent money on your present. I didn't realize that you were capable of being reasonable."

Haha! Women are unreasonable, hysterical creatures, and dissing your girlfriend by saying she's NEVER reasonable is just so charming.

But since Bella is... Bella, she doesn't take offense, and just scrabbles for the present from HIM. It's a burnable CD. You know, for vampires with unlimited wealth, they sure are cheapskates.

He didn't say anything; he took the CD and reached around me to put it in the CD player on the bedside table. He hit play, and we waited in silence. Then the music began.
I listened, speechless and wide-eyed.

"Oh Edward, this hauntingly beautiful music reflects your exquisite musical skill, and matches the dark angst of my tormented yet deep soul perfectly! What do you call it?"
"I call it a Nickelback bootleg."

So it is, of course, so awesome that Bella starts crying. It turns out that the music - which is not described AT ALL - is stuff Edward composed for her. It's probably just a recording of him repeatedly slamming a cat on the keys, but since HE made it Bella would think it was perfect.

"I didn't think you would let me get a piano so I could play for you here," he explained.
"You're right."

"I would have to bitch and whine about it for a whole five minutes before greedily accepting it."

Also, he was planning to give her this present IN HIS HOUSE, in the room where the Cullens keep... a piano. STOO. PID.

So Edward saunters off to get Bella some Tylenol, mainly so he can show off how ridiculously fast he is, and so Bella can freak out lest Charlie see him. Even though it's been established that the vampires move faster than the eye can see.... and I'm pretty sure people talking in normal voices would be a LOT MORE SUSPICIOUS than a two-second trip to the bathroom.

Charlie wasn't exactly aware that Edward frequently stayed over.

But he had taken to leaving lots of condoms next to my bedroom door.

In fact, he would have a stroke if that fact were brought to his attention. But I didn't feel too guilty for deceiving him It wasn't as if we were up to anything he wouldn't want me to be up to. Edward and his rules…

  1. You're making out and dry humping. I think that counts as being something her dad wouldn't want her to be up to.
  2. Especially if it's AT NIGHT, IN BED, and could easily turn into actual sex.
  3. Also, he's a VAMPIRE. A vampire STALKER. A vampire stalker who wants to eat her. Again, that might be something Charlie might take issue with.
  4. So what, is Bella implying that it's okay to lie to and trick your parents as long as you don't actually screw? LOGIC.
  5. Again, this is an argument I would love to see Smeyer's kids presenting her with in a few years. "Yeah, a bunch of my friends sneak into my room at night. But we're only snorting enough cocaine to give an elephant seizures - we're not having sex!"
  6. Ah yes, as in real life, it's the teenage boy fending off the desperate sexual advances of a horny teenage girl. That is truly a reflection of reality... if you buy into the archaic, sexist belief that a horny erratic woman must be kept in line by a virtuous man, or she'll be a total whore.
  7. Do we need any more evidence that Edward is gay? He crawls into bed with a girl just so he can NOT have sex with her.
  8. And since we haven't had pedophilia overtones in the last chapter, Edward picks Bella up and TUCKS HER IN like she's a friggin' toddler. Because, you know, women are just like overgrown children, except you can have sex with them.

He lay down next to me—on top of the blanket so I wouldn't get

... pregnant?


I call bullshit, since she cuddles against him all day every day and has no problem. Smeyer just wanted to assure us that her hyperdevout Mormon cred is intact, because they are SO not having sex, and they couldn't anyway because BLANKET. Yeah, right.


"What are you thinking about?'" I wondered in a whisper.
He hesitated for a second before he told me. "I was thinking about right and wrong, actually."

"And I was thinking about pudding. Mostly about pudding."

But Bella is horrified by the prospect of actual character development, so she tries to distract him with more snogging. Apparently she thinks vampires are like gerbils, and if you just distract them they won't think about all that nasty angst anymore.

"You're greedy tonight."

"Most girlfriends are happy with just one closed-mouth kiss per date."

"Yes, I am—but please, don't do anything you don't want to do," I added, piqued.

"Like have sex with a girl."

He laughed, and then sighed. "Heaven forbid that I should do anything I don't want to do," he said in a strangely desperate tone

... I don't even understand what the hell is being said here.

So they start making out, and they effectively dry-hump on the bed. As usual, Bella doesn't find the rock-hard ice-cold thing to be a turnoff, even though it would be like cuddling a sack of ice. Imagine that. Not sexy.

When he stopped it was abrupt; he pushed me away with gentle, firm hands.

"What's that lip gloss you're wearing? Can I borrow that?"

So they lie there gasping and panting more than if they had had actual sex. Actually, I wonder if Smeyer wrote a sex scene in there, and deleted it later so she could maintain this ridiculous "Edward won't have sex because he's a perfect virtuous man!" plot.

"Sorry," he said, and he was breathless, too. "That was out of line."
"I don't mind," I panted.

Bella practically humps Edward's leg every time she sees him, and would probably tie him to the bed until he screwed her if he weren't a vampire. What does he mean it was "out of line"?

This is the 21st century, and making out after you've been dating for SIX MONTHS is not that unusual. I'm sure Smeyer would claim "oh, it's because he's old-fashioned because he was born SO long ago!" Again, bullshit. He apparently never had a girlfriend then or since, so it's not like the sexual mores of the early 20th-century should have applied to him.

Also, sexual morality wasn't really a big deal for men in the early 20th/late 19th-century. It was a big deal for women, because it just took ONE sexual affair, one unchaperoned visit, one slip-up for a woman to be considered a complete whore. Men could have sex, have extramarital affairs, have longtime mistresses and even boyfriends... and they would get away with it as long as they didn't parade them in public. There's a reason they call it a double standard - because men weren't held to the same standards as women.

"No, I want you to kiss me again."
"You're overestimating my self-control."
"Which is tempting you more, my blood or my body?" I challenged.

Sweetie, you're flattering yourself if you think you're so sexually tempting. The dude has been a sexually-frustrated virgin for the past CENTURY, while all the other vampires are having crazy house-smashing sex. It doesn't make you impressively attractive, because he would probably settle for a rhino at this point.

And frankly, if she looks anything like movie Bella...

... then Bella is just flattering herself that her body would tempt ANYONE except some creepy middle-aged pedophiles.

So then Bella agrees to go to sleep, but she's having a Significant Feeling.

It had been a long day in so many ways, yet I felt no sense of relief at its end. Almost as if something worse was coming tomorrow.

Ooooh, I wonder if something bad will happen.

Edward had kissed me goodbye, not knowing when—or if—we would see each other again. This kiss had the same almost painful edge for some reason I couldn't imagine. I shuddered into unconsciousness, as if I were already having a nightmare.

Just bat us over the head with clumsy foreshadowing, Smeyer. We haven't even gotten to the painful stuff yet, folks. That comes after the NEXT chapter.

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