Very interesting study of the effect all of this has had on Edward, and how his unwillingness to talk about it with anyone ends up damaging his relationship with Bella. Bella understands - especially after her experiences the last few months - how important it is to deal with nasty issues, and to keep the lines of communication open, but of course she can't make that happen by herself.
‘I wanted to jerk away and scream at him for pretending that everything was okay...' I wonder what would have happened if she had let herself do that. Maybe because Edward has seen her strength in processing the rape, he would have more respect for her instincts now? (certainly more than in the books). But I'm sure she's petrified that he might walk away altogether if she pushed it (not permanently, but not resulting in a real conversation either).
‘I didn't doubt that he [loved me]-I'd never make that mistake again...' Yaay! Big milestone! ‘...his arms held me close, and yet I missed him.' Oh, gosh, that's so sad. This cannot go on!
‘...desperate to feel that everything was right between us before I let him out of my sight for long...' Very telling; they've been through so much together since her rape, yet with the current feeling of distance she isn't confident that he won't make a unilateral decision (like in New Moon) again.
At least she has Alice and Rose that she can be honest with, thank the goddess for that.
Jasper sees all! Excellent statement of Edward's thought process, that teling anyone what happened won't change anything. He thinks he just has to find a way to live with it.
‘Bracing myself for the interrogation I knew was coming, I moved one hand over the keys and hammered out random snippets of some of my compositions, trying to ignore the four pairs of concerned eyes...' Vivid image - I can just see it!
‘She'd seen much violence in her short life, so much that her outlook on it was not as it should be. "Just a few bruises. No big deal," she'd told me after Jacob had almost killed her ... She'd spoken as if being on the receiving end of someone's brute strength was the norm. It had killed me to realize that it had been the norm for her.' Interesting insight, part of the price for a human involved in the world of vampires and werewolves. And of course Protective Edward comes to the fore.
[Jasper] ‘Always the practical one, he'd been wondering how I'd managed to defeat Tanya when she had centuries more experience than I did, so it didn't take him long to connect the dots.‘ I'm glad this didn't stay a secret from the Cullens. Edward has no chance of keeping a lid on everything with Jasper around. It was an interesting choice to have Alice and Rose comforting Bella at this time, so that the "intervention" was only with the Cullen men + Esme. Maybe Edward even felt a little less threatened with the smaller group.
Terrific insight into the limitations of Edward's gift: ‘..remembering the brief moment before I'd dismantled Tanya's head from her body, the moment when her thoughts had been full of apologies and pleas for me to forgive her... I could only read the thoughts on the surface of the mind...' So someone manipulative enough, who he didn't know well, still had a chance of deceiving him. (Otherwise all those family tactics of mentally reciting lists or whatever wouldn't work.) Also I'm glad Carlisle pushed Edward to recognize that there was still a cost for having killed her.
The conversation about Seth and Sam that eventually led Edward to give away the truth was so well imagined and written. Totally believable and in character. And picturing Sam in the position of what if this had happened to Emily - wow. Too bad he doesn't actually get to say this to Sam.
You never even had to state that if the vampires could cry, they would have been. The image of the rain starting to fall was a nice allusion.
I like that it was female energy that was tenacious enough to pursue Edward upstairs and insist on continuing the conversation.
‘This was exactly why I hadn't wanted to tell any of them what had happened. I'd been doing everything in my power to not think about it, and now I'd have to be reminded of it every time any of them just simply thought about it.' Well that makes sense. But Edward seems not to have learned from Bella's experience that it's necessary to face ugly experiences head-on rather than trying uselessly to shove them away.
At last he told Esme about the worst part - since the memories came from Jacob, Edward saw it all as if he were the rapist. Horrifying. I can easily see this contaminating his own desire to make love to Bella later on.
I hadn't thought about Carlisle's point that Jacob was fixated on Bella long before Edward left. So even if Edward had stayed, Jacob could have gone off the rails.
‘So damn hard to just accept that I couldn't have done anything.' But at least the idea has entered his mind. ‘It was as if she were crying out to me, asking me why I hadn't been there to protect her, why I hadn't done something to stop it from happening.' Shudder. But Esme has the key point: "Some things are just beyond our control, no matter how strong we are." A hard pill for a superhero to swallow. And I love that she's strong enough to make him accept her embrace!
Good interaction with Carlisle after Edward finally exploded. Great question re the suffering Jacob deserved: "But would it ever have felt like enough?"
Wow, Billy was ready to step up to the plate! Good for him. Maybe he and Charlie can reconcile eventually.
Terrific concluding advice from Carlisle. "Jacob's gone, but Bella still needs you. If you can't let go and move forward, neither will she, and it's going to eventually start to force you both apart." Hopeful sign that Edward recognizes that has already started. Nice image of the cracked glass on the photograph.
Back to Bella's POV - no wonder she was so upset that Edward was the one keeping secrets now. She knows so well how that doesn't work - and how incredibly stubborn he is.
Finally, he returns from the conversation with his family and he IS different. Perfect that he just said straight out how it all made him feel. That's what they both need.
"I need to see your face...It keeps the memories away." Heart-wrenching. And it lets her understand the most difficult thing he's dealing with.
‘...he seemed to let go of his caution, his tongue dipping into my mouth and caressing mine with a passion that made my head whirl. Every nerve in my body seemed to hum as one of his hands slowly traced up and down my spine.' Whew. That's as emotionally affecting - and hot - as most full lemons! And very promising that he has stepped outside his previous comfort zone. Getting past those land mines that Jacob installed in both their brains will take such patience - but they understand each other very well now.
Awww, great timing to decide she wants to wear her engagement ring. That's been bothering me since that terrible dream she had. What a surprise that Edward wants to wait until he can dazzle Renee into accepting their marriage. This should be fun!
And BTW, I didn't find this chapter depressing - Edward needed to deal with his demons, and he was successful! Now we have reason to be optimistic about their future.
Looking forward to the next chapter, whenever your schedule allows.
Hello! So here I am grinning like a fool as I re-read this review. I think most people would be surprised to know that in a way I found this chapter one of the most difficult to write, particularly Edward's POV. Poor Edward was just going through so much! It's so true that Bella now knows how important it is not to keep horrible things hidden inside. Edward should have known better. He thought that by trying to push away his feelings, he was sparing Bella more pain, but in the end he only made things much worse!
So glad you noticed the key point that even though Bella was a mess with how Edward was distancing himself, she never doubted his love for her. After everything they've been through now, she knows how much he loves her and that it's unconditional. Something good that came out of all the bad!
'Jasper sees all!' -- He he. Love that! It's so true. Edward can't hide things from his family with Jasper around, and thank goodness for that because he definitely needed them. And, yes, it actually took me a while to work out which members of Edward's family would be present, but Bella definitely needed Alice and Rose, and I think it was better for Edward to not have to deal with them as well.
Very perceptive thinking about Edward's gift! And thanks for your compliment! I've had to give the way in which Edward's gift works lots of thought when writing this.
And your compliment on how Edward finally told them what happened means a lot! I think it was so important to get that right. I mean, how on earth do you tell someone you saw someone you love get raped (even if he only saw bits and pieces)? I had a reason for bringing Seth into things, too. We haven't seen the last of him.
I definitely agree that Esme's words to Edward (that some things are just beyond our control) are very hard to accept. I think it would be a hard thing for anyone to accept, let alone a superhuman vampire, lol.
Yes, we haven't seen the last of Billy either.
Wow, thanks for your compliment on the kiss, and I'm so glad you noticed how they took another step in the romance department. It's definitely going to take a lot of patience in that area but they will get there!
So nice you remembered about the ring and the dream! I definitely haven't forgotten about that and neither has Bella!
And I'm soooo happy you didn't find the chapter depressing! I wanted it to show how they have taken a step forward because Edward is dealing with everything now.
Once again thank you for taking the time to write such an amazing review. You always blow me away!