Thursday, April 29, 2010

Eclipse Discussion - Chapter 20. Compromise

***Reminder - This discussion contains book spoilers only. There are no pictures used from Eclipse. All of us reclaiming our Twi-purity are safe here.*** 
This week's discussion was written by Loren. She and her husband Shaun were featured in my series Real Men Read Twilight. You can click to read part 1 and part 2 of that interview. Be sure to leave some comments. No fair lurking in a discussion and all these guest posters are doing a great job. Loren is  no exception. I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I did!
Chapter 20 begins with Bella getting ready to spend her weekend with “Alice” – aka a night alone with Edward and then the newborn army heading to Forks. Bella says she’s going to try to focus her attention on Edward and not worry about everything else, as he asked her to. She’s also decided that she’s definitely ready to be changed and join the Cullen family. As she puts it, “The next time something came at us, I would be ready. An asset, not a liability.” I think she’s very anxious to really feel as though she is equal to Edward, since she sees him and the rest of the Cullens as so “above” her.
Bella has ALSO decided that there is one experience that she’s not willing to miss out on before being changed. Of course, that’s sex with Edward. One of the things I think she’s wanted more than anything since the very first book. She knows it won’t be easy to talk Edward into it and she’s also nervous about trying to “seduce” him. I’ve gotta say – the way that Edward was kissing her when they arrived at his house, with seeming disregard and without his usual hesitancy, with no intention of “going all the way” (haha) – he’s honestly kind of a tease. As if he didn’t know, didn’t ALWAYS know, what Bella wanted as far as sex was concerned. And of course, by his actions, Bella got optimistic that she may have actually gotten what she wanted that night.
 Edward reminds her that he has a gift for her, and they hurry upstairs (to his room) to get it. He gives her a charm for her bracelet, a heart-shaped crystal that was a hand-me-down from his mother. I have to say, I did love his presentation. I guess I’m a sap, but I love when he does things to show how completely he loves and adores her. For once, she accepts the gift calmly and doesn’t make a big deal out of it. But, not to be deterred, she returns to her mission for the evening. She decides to use the compromise that they reached regarding the newborn army (and Edward staying with her) as a way to begin the conversation, and though he’s cautious (as he ALWAYS is with Bella) he agrees to try to be open-minded.

 Edward lists the things he wants from Bella (aka his “demands”); that in addition to marriage, he also wants to pay for her tuition to Dartmouth and wants some time before she’s changed. She, of course, tells him he’s being absurd and that time is a deal breaker. Edward says he had no idea she had any other “conditions” other than to be changed, by him, so he’s very curious about what she wants. Honestly, for as smart as he is, he’s a bit slow sometimes. Bella tells him that she’s very worried that after her change she won’t want anything more than blood, and she won’t want him like she does now. He tells her she can have whatever she wants (he still doesn’t get it). So she kisses him, and they start making out, and when she tries to unbutton his shirt, he FINALLY understands what she wants, and quickly puts a stop to that. Bella gets angry and rips open her shirt, before he stops her from doing anything further, and then rejection hits her and she gets upset. Admittedly, I think this is understandable – she’s still very young, and this was the first time she really put herself out there to him like that, even if she had always wanted to go further with him. Not to mention, his fierce reaction (after his momentary slowness) was quite an intense change. He realizes that he hurt her feelings and reminds her that her safety is the ONLY issue and that he wants her, too. She questions if that’s the truth, and his response is one of my favorite quotes throughout the series: “Of course I do, you silly, beautiful, oversensitive girl.” Edward tells her there’s practically a line of guys waiting for him to mess up and she’s “too desirable.” He mentions that some of the names on that list may surprise her – I kind of wish he’d said who. That definitely made me curious.**I have to say I was very curious about this as well**
Anyway, Bella takes them back to the subject at hand. She tells him that he wants so much, the most of which is marriage, which is extremely hard for her to grasp. That’s something that’s ALWAYS bothered me about her. She loves this man with all of her heart, is essentially willing to give up her life for him and wants to spend eternity with him, but marriage is a stretch? I guess I could never quite understand that. Anyway, she says that this is her one demand compared to all that he wants. She says that there is physically nothing she wants more than him, and once she’s changed, although intellectually she may be the same person eventually, she’ll never physically want anything more than blood, and that’s why she doesn’t want to wait. Edward reminds her, again, that he could kill her. She disagrees, to which he overreacts responds by breaking the metal bed with his bare hands and crumbling it to dust to prove his point. She reminds him that she knows he’s physically capable of hurting her, but that he doesn’t want to hurt her, couldn’t bear for anything to hurt her, so much so that he would never let himself hurt her. He isn’t sure it would be like that. She feels defeated and practically begs him, saying it’s the only thing that she wants. She opens her eyes when he doesn’t respond to her begging to find indecision on his face for the first time. She starts rambling, seizing the moment. She says that she’ll marry him, let him pay for college, buy her a new car, basically whatever he wants. Edward hates that of all he’s ever wanted to give her, this is what she demands…she can sense him surrendering.
Bella takes advantage of his physical closeness and turns to kiss him. He grabs her face and she thinks he’s going to push her away, but is pleasantly surprised that that’s not the case at all. Bella thinks she’s won; the feeling of “victory” calming her nerves. As she’s about to undress herself, he stops her. She’s confused. He tells her it’s not going to happen that night. He explains that if they go through with it, he has no guarantee that she’ll marry him and wait to be changed (like she had just agreed to do). So he wasn’t saying “no” to trying while she was still human, but he was obviously much less reluctant to give her what she wanted, so…she had to marry him first. That was to be their compromise. Edward starts kissing her again, knowing that that clouds her mind and she complains that she actually thought she was getting somewhere and suddenly she’s engaged. Edward is as happy as he could possibly be; finally getting the thing he wants most of all. Bella tries once more to convince him that she’s not going to trick him and there’s no reason to wait. She feels he’s holding out for another reason, and finally gets him to admit that he was, in fact, trying to save their virtue. BOTH of their virtues, just in case, but he wasn’t taking any chances with hers. That he may or may not have a soul, but she definitely does, and it was worth following “the rules” just in case. He wants to leave “one rule unbroken.”
 They continue discussing the fact that she has to marry him before they’ll try to have sex, and Edward laughs and acknowledges that thanks to her hormones he knows things will speed up now. He tells her it doesn’t have to be a big ordeal - that they can go to Vegas and do whatever, he just wants it to be official. He offers her the ring but of course she “doesn’t want it” (because she’s overreacting about silly things as usual). He tells her that it was his mother’s engagement ring, and that it’s old-fashioned like him. He asks her to try the ring on to see if it needs to be sized, but when she goes to put it on he takes it from her to do it himself. She can see how intensely happy and overwhelmed he is seeing her wearing his ring. Edward takes advantage of the moment and the intensity and gets down on one knee at the side of the bed, and officially asks Bella to marry him. She’s slightly overwhelmed herself – in both good ways and bad – and answers with a simple “yes.”
This was absolutely by far one of my favorite chapters in the entire series. I think my favorite thing about these books is Edward and Bella’s relationship and the banter between them, and there was a lot of it showcased in this chapter. I love when he tells her he does have the ring, “Ready to force upon you at the first sign of weakness.” He knows her so well that he knows exactly how to get what he wants from her and still keeps it light since he knows she’s not completely comfortable with it (even if that’s totally stupid). I was so happy that she’d finally agreed to marry him and there’d be no more nonsense about how that was too much, she was too young, blah blah blah. As if eternity is so much less serious than a marriage. I do wonder how Alice will react about a quickie wedding in Vegas…. ;)


apotampkin said...

He doesn't give her a crystal, it's a diamond.
And as for the list of names of men who fancy Bella... we know about the three boys, Eric, Mike and Tyler but I think he does mention also in Midnight Sun that one of the teachers fancies her!?!?!

Amber (EyesofAmber) said...

Yes, it's a diamond...but she doesn't know that at the time. She thinks it's a crystal. She'd have never agreed to it if she'd known it was a real diamond at the time.

Amanda said...

I loved this chapter as well. I agree completely (on all points). Edward's character is so interesting with him being 100+ years old and also being "17" physically. On one-hand he's old- fashioned and on the other he's a "man" with needs, that he's never experienced. I loved the proposal, I think that SM played the characters very well in this chapter and it came across exactly as I remember when I had my first "love" and we were testing the boundaries. ;) Well done ladies. Can't wait to keep reading.

Anonymous said...

I never did get her mind. I ould think eternity is alot far worse then marriage, no? LOL I did enjoy the romance in the chapy as well as the mind games. *sigh*