Sorry, Lisa, for another overly long review, but I've cut as much as I can stand ...
I like that the events of this chapter let Bella realize how good she has gotten at reading Edward, despite the decades he's spent perfecting his "inscrutable" act. That should increase her confidence in the maturing of their relationship.
Something about the way you put this made me connect these dots in a way I never have before: "I knew I had no right, no right at all to do anything other than accept your relationship with [Jacob] when it was my actions that had spurred you to him in the first place." Ouch. At least she understands now.
I love that she does this, regardless of Sandra's presence: ‘He broke off, and his eyes were full of so much-guilt, sorrow, regret...that I was on my knees in front of his chair before I was even consciously aware I'd moved.'
This moment was absolutely harrowing: ‘Finally, he spoke through his hands, and his voice sounded so expressionless now, so dead, that it scared me more than his silence. "I wished for it," he said flatly.'
You built the suspense so well, until we get to this: "I knew you'd forgive him, and I wished that he would just do something that you wouldn't forgive so that I could have you to myself... I guess I got my wish."
OMG, this is so like canon Edward. I can just imagine that from the moment he learned of the rape, he uses this wish to blame himself.
The perfect thing to say: "So you're going to leave me here alone now, are you?"
At least she didn't say "again".
Impressive that this doesn't derail her: ‘His face was hard-set, his eyes cold. It didn't sting as much as it once would have.'
From the time he ran out of Sandra's office, you had me intensely curious what he was thinking about bringing Bella with him. No doubt one track of his mind was bringing her along to keep her safe, but was he actually glad she was there? I have to think he truly wanted to let her in.
A good insight: ‘And how many times had I felt that crushing pain of dread reform in my chest? Felt that horrible, encompassing certainty that I'd wake up and find him gone again.' This goes back before Jacob, but it must have contributed to her fears after the rape. Interesting, though that now she anticipates feeling ‘the fear that I wouldn't be enough to hold him this time, that he would leave me once and for all' - but it doesn't materialize. More progress!
Nicely said: ‘...the idea that he could possibly feel the same deep-rooted insecurity, that he could ever in a million years find himself lacking when compared to me, had been completely inconceivable in my mind. It was still inconceivable in my mind. Yet in this moment there was no doubt that it was so.' Good girl!
Her thoughts before he lets her touch him, of all the things she wants to say to him, ending with ‘And that he had the sweetest, most gentle soul of anyone I'd ever met.' brought tears to my eyes. I can count on two hands the number of times that's happened when reading Twilight fanfic.
The scene where he's destroying boulders by the river so strongly echoed the moments in the first movie where he's trying to frighten her about what his vampirism means. Terrific:
‘[Edward] still saw himself as a monster. Still thought he was capable of hurting me.
It was there. It had always been there. His greatest fear.
A fear that had now been realized over and over in his mind in the worst possible form, thanks to Jacob Black.'
I liked how seeing Edward's suffering made Bella's anger with Jacob flare up. At least she was putting the blame where it belonged, finally.
I had the image of Bella moving as one would approach a wild animal. I enjoyed how patiently you spun out the slow, cautious steps that allowed them to finally come together. I loved Bella's response when he insists that he can't trust himself to touch her: "No one said anything about you touching me. Keep your hands to yourself if that's what you're worried about."
Vivid: ‘this time when I moved within reach, he didn't budge from where he stood, his breathing ragged, body stiff as stone. When my hand reached toward him his breath stopped...'
Shocking: ‘watching Edward crumple to his knees in front of me was not something I could've ever been prepared for. ... Edward, for the first time, let me see him fall.' Wow.
"I'm sorry, so, so sorry..." he repeated, chanting the words over and over again, the broken mantra reflecting the shattered piece of his spirit that had never quite mended since the moment he'd awoke a vampire all those years ago.' It's the genius of this chapter that you saw how Edward needed healing that went beyond the damage Jacob did. I did not see that coming!
Oh, heartclench: ‘This time, I could hear the dozens of apologies masked behind one: He was sorry he couldn't be human for me.' All the litany of sorries was tremendously touching, but this one really got to me, because he never had a choice about it. Another good phrase: ‘the self-loathing that had been lodged like iron in his heart for ninety years.'
‘It felt right to hold him like this, his cheek resting over my heart now while my fingers moved through his silky hair and then down his back, soothing the tense knot of muscles between his shoulders. Gradually, the rigidness of his body grew less pronounced, and the strength of his grip against the rocks slackened.
He let himself touch me then; the way he brought his arms up slowly to settle around me with such painstaking caution and gentleness causing tears to abruptly fill my eyes.'
I felt like I could breathe again when they finally reached this moment.
Interesting: ‘How naive I'd been. How blinded by my childish, fantasy-like view of the world around me I'd been. What else had I not seen? Perhaps in a way I ought to be grateful to Jacob Black for shattering those views. ... So much of Edward's pain I'd been oblivious to.'
‘Now in b[e]aring witness to Edward's long suffered penitence I could suddenly see the nonsensicalness of my own.
It did not matter what I had or hadn't done to unintentionally lead Jacob on, I realized. I had not asked for what happened that night. I had not asked for my best friend to hold me down and not listen to me say no.
No, I had not asked for that.
The realization brought with it an odd sense of peace, even when memories of that night frayed in the edges of my mind.'
Oh, thank God.
This was a completely reasonable request, not Edward's usual overreaction: "You must promise me that if I ever use too much force like that with you again you will let me know immediately." And instead of blowing him off, she gets it and responds like an adult! ‘So caught up in my own insecurities I'd always been that I'd spent more time deflecting his concerns rather than trying to comprehend and soothe them.' I always wanted to smack canon Bella for that.
A perfect ending.
I agree with some of your other reviewers that this chapter DID have a big turning point! If you had a bigger one in mind, I can't wait to see it!