Cleolinda Jones (cleolinda) wrote,
Cleolinda Jones

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Midnight Sun commentary, chapters 1-6

So it took a lot longer than I thought it would. The migraines are chagrining my recapping mojo, you guys. Anyway, for better or worse, Stephenie Meyer has posted the first half of Midnight Sun on her website, for free, and I said I'd recap it once it was legally available, and now it is, so here we are.

("OMG THIS IS SO LONG!" Well, it's theoretically the last Twilight book she is/was going to write, and the length makes up for not doing a Twilight chapter breakdown in the first place. Look, I don't know.)

Okay. The first thing I want to discuss is the fact that I cannot stop reading these books even though they fill me with feminist rage and horror. I can't stop, y'all. The imprinting! The forced kissing! The STALKING, OH MY LORD, THE STALKING. More to the point, perhaps: if Bella Swan hadn't met Edward, what was she planning to do with her life? I mean, what was she planning to do for a job? We're not even told enough about her interests to have any idea what career path she could have taken. Novels of the nineteenth century: that is pretty much it. And guess what? They're not hiring for those anymore.

And yet... Twilight fills me with warm and fuzzy giggles. (New Moon: less so. Mostly because Bella trying to not-kill herself for two hundred pages or so infuriates me on behalf of the people who think this is a good book for young girls. Eclipse: more so than New Moon, although I tend to skip the love triangle sections so as to not punch holes in the wall. Breaking Dawn: Skip to the third section, and it's all shiny lulz from there.) I am sick, y'all. I need help. To expand on my previous metaphor, it's like I'm in my kitchen and there's that Twinkie sitting on the counter, and I know, I know, that not one single ingredient in that thing originated in nature. "Flour," maybe, and I'm not even so sure about that. And yet.... SUGARRRRRRRR.

I'm just saying, I won't judge you if you won't judge me.

Second thing: The Midnight Sun playlist from Meyer's website.

Third: Y'all know how it works. All chapter titles are real; indented blockquotes are really from the text. You know what? I'm so fond of making up dialogue that I think I'm going to bold it if it's the real thing and it's not in blockquotes. You know, just so you can tell the difference.

So, previously on As the Vampire Sparkles, Bella Swan was a seventeen-year-old girl living in Phoenix with her flighty mother Renee, who then married a younger minor league baseball player and was so happy with him that Bella said, in essence, "I know you would really rather be traveling with him! I know you're happier with him! I'll just go then, I'll go live with my silent stoic dad Charlie up north in the middle of rainy nowhere! I'll just make this sacrifice for you, because I think of you as my best friend, and I have always known what was best for you, as if I was the parent and you were the--HEY! WHY ARE WE ALREADY AT THE AIRPORT?" So then she got to Forks (just after Christmas break, I would guess) and went from zero to whine at record speed: "I hate the rain! I hate the cold! I hate the green! I hate sleeves! I hate sharing a bathroom with my father! I hate quiet little schools where I'm not in danger of getting shot everyday! I hate boys at new schools who actually try to befriend me! GAH I HOPE THEY DON'T TRY TO ASK ME OUT." And that pretty much gets us up to this chapter, where she sees Edward Sparklepire Cullen for the first time.

Chapter 1: "First Sight"

Edward is staring at the cracked plaster on the ceiling of his lunchroom purgatory, how unbearable is the foodless monotonous drone of his existence, etc. And then he starts snarking on his family (roll call!): Stupid Rosalie. She's so vain, she probably thinks my internal monologue is about her. Stupid neanderthal Emmett. Stupid psychic Alice, not concerned with anything but whether Jasper can control himself around the tasty mundanes or not. Oh, dramatize, Jasper. Stupid mundanes, obsessed with the stupid new girl. Stupid Jessica Hosebeast Stanley, thinking bitchy thoughts at New Girl. Stupid boring New Girl, thinking...

And that's when Edward realizes he can't hear Bella's thoughts. Most Twilightverse vampires have some kind of special power--Alice can see the future, Jasper can affect moods, Carlisle got stuck with "compassion"--and Edward's is that he can hear thoughts and read minds. Except, among all humanity, Bella's. Which is, naturally, "unbelievably frustrating." And also,
I felt the urge to step in between [Jessica and Bella], to shield this Bella Swan from the darker workings of Jessica's mind.

And then Bella waaaaaalks past Edward in bioooooology class in slooooo-mooooo and he smells her delicious, delicious, naturally freesia-scented bloooooood:
Her scent hit me like a wrecking ball, like a battering ram. There was no image violent enough to encapsulate the force of what happened to me in that moment.

In that instant, I was nothing close to the human I'd once been; no trace of the shreds of humanity I'd managed to cloak myself in remained.

I was a predator. She was my prey. There was nothing else in the whole world but that truth.

[...] I was a vampire, and she had the sweetest blood I'd smelled in eighty years.
And he begins to plot how he's going to kill her, everyone in the room, and anyone who gets in his way. This is the moment, back when I first read the sample chapter off the website, that I fell in love (somewhat temporarily) with Edward Cullen. Not at any point during the four Bella-perspective novels about his godlike angel marble cupcake beauty--no, it was the moment when he began to calculate how many necks per second he would have to snap to snack her whiny ass.

(Four or five per second, he figures.)

But no! (He could wait until after class!) He must not! (He could walk her home!) He must not disappoint Carlisle, his compassionate doctor not-father! (HE COULD TOTALLY HIDE HER BODY IN THE WOODS!) And now you know where my icon came from:


So anyway, he holds his breath for the rest of class, he tries to dazzle the school registrar into changing his schedule, OH SHIT LOOK IT'S BELLA SWAN OM NOM EMOTEEN NOMMMMMMMM, he flees the school office, he ditches his not-family and goes to see Carlisle at the hospital, and Carlisle gives Edward his (Carlisle's) car, because it's got a full tank of gas and... I guess... if Edward stopped to refill he might run into Bella again or something? You know... on his way to Alaska? Damn, that car gets good gas mileage.

Chapter 2: "Open Book"

You know, this is one of the parts Bella wasn't present for--Edward's stay in Alaska with the Denali chicks that we keep hearing about throughout the series. Including Kate, who turns out to be awesome, and Irina, who... not so much. This would be a really interesting part go in depth with, right? So of course, it gets all of four pages. And they're all about Edward moping out in a snowbank with Tanya, the vampire chick who has a thing for Edward (which Edward does not thing back):
"I'm not used to rejection," she grumbled, her lower lip pushing out into an attractive pout.

"Certainly not," I agreed, trying with little success to block out her thoughts as she fleetingly sifted through memories of her thousands of successful conquests. [...] My mouth twisted with chagrin. I didn't like hurting Tanya, though her feelings were not deep, hardly pure, and in my case, not something I could return. It still made me feel less than a gentleman.
Translation: "I'M GOING HOME, HOOR!"

So back in Twilight, Bella's all upset because Random Hot Boy at New School hates her so much that he actually left town for a few days and she doesn't even know why, but now he's back and getting in snowball fights:
[Edward's] hair was dripping wet, disheveled--even so, he looked like he'd just finished shooting a commercial for hair gel. His dazzling face was friendly, open, a slight smile on his flawless lips. But his eyes were careful.
Meanwhile, over at the same snowball fight, Emmett is so Growing Up Cullen that I started clapping like a seal:
"Very human, Emmett," Rosalie said scathingly. "Why don't you punch through the wall while you're at it?"

"It would look more impressive if you did it, baby."


I looked away quickly [from Bella], to Emmett, who laughed at the now pained-looking smile on my face.

You look sick, bro.
ANYWAY. The Cullen fam is breathing down Edward's neck trying to make sure he doesn't flip out and kill Bella and blow their cover, while Edward's obsessing over the fact that Bella clearly hasn't told anyone what a freakshow he was to her and she's being emo and not eating and and Mike Newton is getting his fantasies all over her (ARRRRGH EDWARD CHIVALRY SMASH!). But Alice is "ninety-three percent sure" that Edward can hold his shit together and not chug Bella's delicious freesia-scented blood, so
I wanted to go to my biology class. I realized that I wanted to see her face again,
making Edward perhaps the only high school student ever who has wanted to go to biology.
That's what decided it for me. That curiosity. I was angry with myself for feeling it. Hadn't I promised myself that I wouldn't let the silence of the girl's mind make me unduly interested in her? And yet, here I was, most unduly interested. [...] As I stared into those oddly deep brown eyes, I realized that the hate--the hate I'd imagined this girl somehow deserved for simply existing--had evaporated. Not breathing now, not tasting her scent, it was hard to believe that anyone so vulnerable could ever justify hatred.
And yet it takes him how many more chapters to realize he's in love with her? I'm just saying. Anyway, the erotic tension of comparing onion root slides culminates in the electric hot-cold shock of their hands touching, and Bella goes from Boring New Girl to:
Better than being beautiful, her face was interesting. Not quite symmetrical--her narrow chin out of balance with her wide cheekbones; extreme in the coloring--the light and dark contrast of her skin and her hair; and then there were the eyes, brimming over with silent secrets...
SECRETS HE MUST PENETRATE, LET HIM DO SO THROUGH AWKWARD CONVERSATION! She is shy! Intelligent! Selfless! Perceptive! FRAGRANT! His mask of normalcy has already slipped twice--no, three times in her presence! HER "OUTRAGEOUS FLAVOR" IS MAKING HIM LOSE CONTROL!

So then in Edward's next class, Emmett reminisces about the time he totally ate some righteously tasty lady he randomly found hanging up laundry. Thanks, Emmett. So Edward flees class to sit in his car and listen to "violent music." Rule of thumb in the Twilightverse: when in doubt, they're listening to Muse. Whoever it is, Outrageous Flavor is totally opening their next concert.

Chapter 3: "Phenomenon"

Carlisle takes Edward for not-father/not-son bonding time out in the woods, and Edward's obsession with Bella's flavor is already putting him off his regular diet of wildlife: "I should leeeeave and let her get maaaarried someday, but the thought, it causes me pain!" Back at the house, Alice manages to talks Edward into not punking out and running away again, and she has a vision of The Meadow of Great Sparkle, although neither of them quite know what's going to happen there yet. Then Edward mopes around the house some more, bitter because he's the only one alone, with nothing but his scrapbooking and his Tide with Bleach in the long watches of the night.
It was embarrassing how my world suddenly seemed to be empty of everything but her--my whole existence centered around the girl, rather than around myself anymore.
I haven't actually done the math here, but I think he's had all of two biology classes with her at this point. So anyway, he's "having fun" the next morning watching Bella flail around on the ice in the school parking lot and get choked up over her snow chains WHEN SUDDENLY OH MY GOD IT'S THE DEATH VAN!

I still don't understand exactly what happens, because it's like the van's going to careen crushwards into Bella and then it turns or something and nearly crushes her again? And Edward throws her down (unf!) and nearly cracks her skull and blocks the van with his shoulder but then the death van swings around and he has to lift the van off her but if it's already on her shouldn't she already be crushed and look, I don't even know. The scene in the movie trailer is much more lolarious simple, so I'm going with that: Van baaaad. Bella freesiaaaa. Edward INTENSE.

A word I'd never said before in the presence of a lady slid between my clenched teeth.
Given the "curse words" in the other four books, I'm going to assume the word is "dang." Meanwhile, Edward's struggling with a whirlwind of emotions, including but not limited to desperation, panic, fear, giddy relief, and...
Too aware of the heat of her soft body, pressed against mine--even though the double obstacle of our jackets, I could feel that heat...
... arousal?

And then, in the few moments before everyone can run over and extract him and Bella from the wreckage, he... rearranges the shape of the dent he made? Because... now the dent his marble-hard (unf!) body made in a hunk of metal instead of being crushed is going to go unnoticed? I... okay. And then Police Chief Swan arrives to freak out over his daughter's latest brush with death, and Edward realizes that Charlie can also block his mind-reading powers. A little. Which is in keeping with Renesmee inheriting a mix of Edward and Bella's powers, I guess.

(What, you haven't heard about Renesmee yet? Man, are you in for a treat.)

But Bella has noticed too much! Namely, that--well, go back up and look at that first trailer shot: that's not a bad cap, that's actually how fast he's supposed to be moving. She notices, okay? It's kind of hard not to. So Edward makes sure she gets stuffed into an ambulance and carted off to the hospital where Carlisle can help him hush this up: OH NOES NOT-DAD SHE'S GONNA BLOW OUR COVER! BUT SHE HIT HER HEAD, WE CAN MAKE IT SOUND LIKE SHE'S CRAZY!
I felt like a cad just saying the words.
Oh, Edward. Shine on, you prissy diamond.

But now Edward is giddy again: Bella spoke his name. Well, she spoke it to Tyler, but it was still pretty swoon-worthy, in Edward's opinion. Tyler muses that Bella's kind of pretty, and RARRRRR CHIVALRY SMASH! Edward feels "an acute aching in [his] chest"--look, buddy, I'm pretty sure WB has already trademarked Harry's chest monster, so you're gonna have to find some other wording to express your naive centenarian lust. Then Carlisle runs his fingers through Bella's hair to check for a concussion and catches her when she gets dizzy, and Edward nearly passes out with "emotion" (dude, are you jealous of your not-father? Get a grip, Sparkleson). But Bella does not want anyone to see her as weak! Edward adds "brave" to his list of Secret Bella Traits.

But now, it is time for the Conversation of Reckoning, where Bella demands what the fuck that whole superhero thing back there was, and Edward has to say something, anything, to shut her down and save his family--
I had a show to put on now. I knew the role I would play--I had the character down: I would be the villain. I would lie and ridicule and be cruel
--but it is TEARING HIM UP INSIDE OMG. Unfortunately, Bella is not buying what he's selling. Well, I mean, there's a lot of things he could sell that she'd like to buy (unf!), but "I was totally standing next to you the whole time and that van was so made of tinfoil, yeah, that's it" is not one of them.
We scowled at each other. It was odd how endearing her anger was. Like a furious kitten, soft and harmless, and so unaware of her own vulnerability.
I'm going to pass over the obligatory Those Wimmins Sure Are Cute When They're Mad criticism and simply note that Furious Kitten is going on tour next summer with Outrageous Flavor.

Chapter 4: "Visions"

This has no corresponding chapter in Twilight, by the way; it would fall between "Phenomenon" and "Invitations," much... the way it does here.
It shouldn't be so hard for me to do the right thing. But, all afternoon, I was gritting my teeth against the urge that had me yearning to ditch, too--in order to go find the girl again.

Like a stalker. An obsessed stalker. An obsessed, vampire stalker.
1. "The girl." He calls Bella this a lot in Midnight Sun. Because it's nice to know that he's so obsessed with someone he can't even bother to think of as a unique personality with, you know, a name.


So anyway, he's supposed to go in and tell his teachers that Bella cracked her skull open, she's crazy, TOTALLY CRAZY, DON'T LISTEN TO ANYTHING SHE SAYS ABOUT EDWARD BEING THE FLASH OR WHATEVER, but he can't bring himself to do it because--sing it with me if you know the words--it would be "so unchivalrous."

Meanwhile, Emmett's all like, "Dude, Rosalie is totally going to put a foot up your ass, and also, Jasper's pretty much gonna take that chick out back and snarf her if you won't," and Edward literally sees red and goes into a rage spasm and Emmett's like DUDE WE ARE IN SPANISH CLASS YOU HAVE GOT TO GET YOUR MIERDA TOGETHER. "Damn, kid, you're a mess," laughs Emmett. "Bite me," says Edward. Presumably there are no ladies within earshot of this horrid, pun-laden vulgarity.

And there in Spanish, Edward realizes he's willing to fight for Bella against his family. Perhaps he should kidnap her! (SERIOUSLY?) Surely she would be filled with terror, though! And if he were to kill her by accident, his pain would be "multifaceted and intense." And then he starts mind-reading Alice's visions of the future--how Jasper would attack Bella, or rather attack Edward to get through to Bella: a constant, shadowy, ever-changing kaleidoscope of shit that ain't happened yet.
Idiot! Lunatic! Moron! Jackass! Selfish, irresponsible fool! Rosalie kept up a constant stream of insults at the top of her mental lungs.
Aaaand I'm liking Rosalie again. (Yeah... I have Rosalie issues, if you're just joining us.)

So then the Cullens have a family meeting ("GROWING UP CULLEN" IS CANON NOW, Y'ALL), and they all argue about whether Edward should go away for Bella's (and the Cullens') safety, or if him leaving would just draw more attention to them, and should Jasper just go twist her head off like a bottle cap and be done with it, or Rosalie should just snap her neck in her (Bella's) sleep to protect the family, and Carlisle's all like, "But if we kill her then we suck, and we don't deserve to be protected," and Jasper's all like "WHATEVER, KILL THE HUMAN, SHE LOOKS TASTY" and then Alice (who is awesome, and possibly my favorite character) breaks in:
"I would really appreciate it if you didn't try to kill Bella. First of all, Edward's serious [about protecting Bella] and I don't want you two fighting. Secondly, she's my friend. At least, she's going to be. [...] I'm going to love her someday, Jazz. I'll be very put out with you if you don't let her be."
Keep in mind that Alice has never even been introduced to Bella, much less spoken a single word to her. And then she drops this cool little bomb: Edward's either going to kill Bella or vampire her at some undetermined point in the future.
[Alice:] I love her too. Or I will. It's not the same, but I want her around for that.

"Love her, too?" I whispered, incredulous.

And Rosalie's all bitchy, like, "How classically Edward!" (HA!) and Esme's like, "Yay! Finally! My not-son is no longer emotionally defective!" and Emmett's just like, "AHAHAHAHAHAHA!"

So Edward runs away on an emo jog to stare at the lights of Seattle. In the rain. No, really.

I do want to stop here and point something out: I've always been pretty dismissive of Stephenie Meyer's claim that free will is an important element in the books, because--well, imprinting. But the chapter does end on this note:
This could not be allowed. There had to be a way to circumvent the future. I would not let Alice's visions direct me. I could choose a different path. There was always a choice. There had to be.
So yeah, free will and choice are very much a theme... with Edward and the Cullens. Not so much with the wolves and their choice of soulmate, though. And not so much with Bella, who spends much of Twilight talking about how her choice is already made, she's "irrevocably" in love with Edward, and then in Eclipse when she tells Jacob that her love for Edward is like having imprinted on him. But I do want to give Meyer credit, she does put a lot of importance on free will in this particular storyline.

Chapter 5: "Invitations"

High school, hell, purgatory, torment and fire, etc. Edward ignores Bella the best he can, refusing to believe that he's in love with her yet (um, Edward. Were you there for the giddiness and the jealousy and the "acute aching" in your chest? Because you told us about all of it, so I'd think you were), although he still "[hangs] on every breath she took, every word she said." I can wait here a moment if you'd like to cue up the Police on your mp3 player, by the way. Meanwhile, he lists his torments as 1) her scent/his thirst, 2) her silence/his curiosity, and 3) Mike Newton, who "created a Bella in his head that didn't exist--a girl just as generic as he was." Mmm, projecting. So he listens to Mike talking with Bella so he can catalogue her like a dead butterfly: blah blah so brave and unselfish and mature and patient and kind to Mike and, above all, good, because Edward isn't privy to all of Bella's pissing and moaning in Twilight about how irritating it is that boys dare to like her. Meanwhile, Pot is jealous that Kettle has possessive thoughts and crude fantasies. (Okay, Edward's fantasies aren't crude. They just involve the overwhelming desire to slaughter Bella and suck down her exquisite blood. And to smash Mike against the classroom wall.)

Oh, and torment #4 is "Bella's indifference," which is hilarious in a frustrating kind of way if you've read Twilight and you know that Bella spends every night dreaming about him and every day pining. A LOT.

So you know what finally pushes Edward over the edge? RAGING JEALOUSY when Mike Newton hints that Bella should ask him (Mike) to the girl's choice dance ("An unexpected, intense fury made my hands clench into fists"). And then Edward imagines Bella's life without him--"college, career... love, marriage"--and I started laughing from here in the future, three books ahead. Silly sparklepire! Bella's never going to college! She doesn't have career interests! She just wants to get her teenage freak on and have premarital vampiring before she gets old! Anyway, the thought of Bella moving on without him no longer inspires selfless protectiveness but RAGE, RAAAAAGE, RAGE AND DESIRE AND DESPAIR AND MIKE NEWTON SKULL-CRUSHING RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGE!

And then Mike's envy of whoever he assumes Bella just turned him down for makes Edward realize that this Strange New Emotion is... jealousy. DUDE. Didn't you say you had two medical degrees from, like, eighty years of going to school over and over? You're a smart kid! KEEP UP.

So anyway, Bella's like, "I'm not going to the dance at all, I'm going to Seattle for the day because... I said so," and Edward's like, WHY? WHY IS SHE GOING THERE? WHAT IS IN SEATTLE? IS SHE LYING? IS SHE GIVING UP MIKE FOR JESSICA'S SAKE? DOES SHE WISH SHE COULD BE WITH MIKE INSTEAD? I MUST PENETRATE HER MIIIIIIIIIIND!!! THE MONSTER MUST KNOOOOOOOOOW!!!!!!1!

God, this guy needs to get laid so bad, I can't even tell you.

So Edward decides to start speaking to her again, and his idea of "speaking to her" is, "Um, hi. I'm kind of speaking to you again but not really, which is rude but it's better for me to be rude, particularly in the rudeness of telling you I'm rude but not telling you why." And when she's like, "Edward, WHAT IS YOUR DEAL?," he's like,
The sound of my name on her lips did strange things to my body.
Again: two medical degrees, right? You do know what's happening here... right? It's okay, man, you're (eternally) seventeen. These things happen, you know? Just... try to stay seated until it passes.

So anyway, he decides to let ("let") Eric Whoever and Death-Van Tyler angle for invitations to the dance because he just hasn't felt enough jealous stalker depression-rage today ("I could never be an average boy. How foolish it was to set myself up as a rival for her affections. How could she ever care for someone who was, by any estimation, a monster? She was too good for a monster") and, as it turns out, he really likes watching Bella get mad at boys who dare to ask her out. Because, you know, The Little Wimmins Really Are Cute When They're Mad.

Okay, so. We are approaching the part of the chapter that made me scream out loud, I am not even kidding you. Edward goes hunting to make sure he's sufficiently fed and less likely to suck the marrow from Bella's bones, and then he "realize[s] that [he's] going to go find the girl" like this is news to him and beyond his control, you know, because that free will thing is working out so well for him, so he climbs up to the upstairs window chez Swan and GASP! IT IS HERS, FAIR BELLA'S, WHAT SNORE FROM YONDER WINDOW BREAKS:
It was her room. I could see her in the one small bed, her covers on the floor and her sheets twisted around her legs. As I watched, she twitched restlessly and threw one arm over her head. She did not sleep soundly, at least not this night. Did she sense the danger near her?

I was repulsed by myself as I watched her toss again. How was I any better than some sick peeping tom? I wasn't any better. I was much, much worse.
"Okay, Mom," she muttered.

Bella talked in her sleep.
The hell he's letting an opportunity to penetrate her mind like this get away! AND THEN:
I tried the window, and it was not locked, though it stuck due to long disuse. I slid it slowly aside, cringing at each faint groan of the metal frame. I would have to find some oil for next time...

Next time? I shook my head, disgusted again.
BUT DOES THAT STOP HIM FROM CLIMBING INTO HER ROOM? No, it does not, NO IT DOES NOT, WHAT? WHAT? WHAT? Here's how trusting, how naive I was when I read Twilight: he's got super-amazing vampire sight and hearing and strength, right? So he could totally just hang from the window ledge ("dangling from the eave"! See!) or maybe sit up in a tree and watch through her window every night, right? He'd still be getting a pretty good show, right? It never even occurred to me that Edward would actually climb into her room, CLIMB INTO HER ROOM, OH MY GOD.
I wanted very much to go read the titles of her books and CDs, but I'd promised myself that I would keep my distance; instead, I went to sit in the old rocking chair in the far corner of the room.
And an actual shriek of "JESUS H. CHRIST!" rang through the Jones house, and I thought I would never stop screaming. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? DID SADAKO SCOOT OVER TO MAKE ROOM FOR YOU THERE IN THE CORNER? And then Bella starts murmuring his name in her sleep and his "dead, frozen heart" feels like it's going to beat again and it's like the SUN is rising in the middle of his "unending, unchanging MIDNIGHT," if you see what Meyer's doing thar. And I am still screaming.

And O, What a Change This Moment Hath Wrought in Him: "Always watching her, I began to plot." WAY TO DIAL THE CREEPY UP JUST A LITTLE BIT MORE THERE. (You know, I think this would actually be a fantastic book/series if it were openly, straight-up about a psychotic obsessed stalker vampire and the girl just kinky enough to get off on it. Like, if the actual tone and/or theme of the book was that the whole thing was sick, but it was sick in a way that totally worked for them and that's why they were perfect together, rather than Our Love, It Is So Epic and True.) Anyway, Edward decides that his newly-realized love for Bella is, in fact, So Epic and True that he must find a middle ground between Alice's two death visions: he must find a way to be with her without killing her or vampiring her or sexing her, because that would be unchivalrous crush her, although dry-humping would probably be okay.

(God, this is the longest chapter ever. And I lived through the last three chapters of Breaking Dawn, y'all.)

So Edward gleefully skips home through fields of daisies to change clothes for school and Esme is like, "Okay, I wanted you to find someone to love, but you are kind of giving me the wig here," and then he runs all the way to school (his not-siblings have already gone without him, he took so long watching Bella) and waits in the trees by the school parking lot (a fine choice of cover for the discerning stalker) for Bella to arrive and she's all cranky-face and he realizes, somewhat hilariously, that the last time he actually spoke to her, he pissed her off with the rudeness and the weirdness and the laughing at her date-angling fury, and hey! She wasn't actually conscious when he decided their love was So True and Epic! He should probably inform her of this!
I wanted to laugh at myself--or kick myself. All my plotting and planning was entirely moot if she didn't care for me, too, wasn't it? Her dream could have been about something completely random. I was such an arrogant fool.

1) Point taken.

2) That said, I'm so sure she was moaning through a random dream about someone else named Edward. Edward Furlong, maybe. Edward R. Murrow? Edward Scissorhands? "Oh, Edward the Blue Engine, don't stop!"

3) Thus begins the part of the book where I find a new reason, somehow, to want to slap Edward, which is that he spirals even further into massive insecurity. Which I don't buy, or at least not this particular outrageous flavor: he knows that vampires are preternaturally attractive. He knows that Jessica has dirty fantasies about him all day long. He knows that he's attractive to women. He knows this. I can see Edward being insecure--but I would think he would be afraid that Bella was only attracted to the vampire handsomeness, and that maybe she doesn't really like him. Or, rather than insecurity, the guilt that he is attractive to her, but selfish and dangerous in encouraging it (which we do, to be fair, also get). The constant interior meebling of how could she find him attractive, though? When the whole point of the Twilightverse vampires is that they're ungodly gorgeous, I say unto you, WHAT. EVER.

So anyway, he's like, "Hey, s'up," and she's like, "What the hell is your problem?" and he's like, "I was just giving Tyler his chance to make you squirm, that's all," and she's like, "So you are trying to irritate me to death? Since Tyler's van didn't do the job?" and he's like "HOW COULD YOU HONESTLY BELIEVE THAT? omg I love you," and Bella's like, "Do you have a multiple personality disorder?"

(The wise Dr. Pattinson's diagnosis: "And the more I read the script, the more I hated this guy, so that's how I played him, as a manic-depressive who hates himself. Plus, he's a 108-year-old virgin so he's obviously got some issues there.")

So this is the reason that reading Twilight and Midnight Sun--selected chapters, anyway--side by side is kind of fun: in Bella's version, Edward is stoic and mysterious and frustratingly cryptic. In Edward's version, in the same scenes--at least in his own mind--Edward skips and flails and rages around like a bipolar muppet. A muppet in love. It's kind of like a sparkly teenage version of "Bad Blood." "All I had for breakfast this morning was half a mountain lion with cream cheese, and it wasn't even real cream cheese, it was LIGHT cream cheese! I DO IT ALL FOR YOU, BELLA!"

So anyway, he fakes her out into thinking he's going to ask her to ask him to the dance, and when he's done laughing at her cute widdle fury, he asks to drive her to Seattle instead, because, as you will recall from Twilight, her truck is paleolithic and "The wasting of finite resources is everyone's business," quoth the stupid shiny Volvo owner. And while he's getting around to asking her,
[s]he waited in silence, her teeth pressing into her soft lower lip,
which kind of turns him on (okay, "strange, unfamiliar reactions stirred deep in my forgotten core," by which he means "in my pants"), and then he's like, "Yay! I'm glad you'll go to Seattle with me! Except that you should really stay away from me instead," and then he skips off to class to drive Emmett bugfuck some more.

Chapter 6: "Blood Type"

Y'all? I am not proud of this. But... I kind of love this chapter. Like, in both incarnations. STOP LOOKING AT ME, I CAN'T HELP IT! IT IMPRINTED ON ME AGAINST MY WILL!

Anyway! EPIC ROMANCE IN THE LUNCHROOM. Edward beckons to Bella to sit with him, alone, at a different table today, and all of Forks High freaks the hell out, as high schoolers are wont to do when the social order is challenged in the slightest way.

(Here's another example of why reading the two versions side by side is fun:
[Bella:] Disappointment flooded through me as my eyes unerringly focused on his table. The other four were there, but he was absent. Had he gone home? I followed the still-babbling Jessica through the line, crushed. I'd lost my appetite--I bought nothing but a bottle of lemonade. I just wanted to go sit down and sulk.

[Edward:] The moment Bella walked through the door, her eyes flashed to the table where my siblings sat. She stared for a moment, and then her forehead crumpled and her eyes dropped to the floor. She hadn't noticed me there.

She looked so... sad. I felt a powerful urge to get up and go to her side, to comfort her somehow, only I didn't know what she would find comforting. I had no idea what made her look that way. Jessica continued to jabber about the dance. Was Bella sad that she was going to miss it?

In short, you can't really appreciate the hilarity of their mutual emo until you get it in stereo.)

So anyway, Edward keeps chanting, "Keep it honest, keep it light," so he starts out the conversation with, "I decided as long as I was going to hell, I might as well do it thoroughly." *facepalm* So Bella's like, SERIOUSLY, WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU, and then Edward dazzles her into telling him one of her What the Hell Your Deal Might Actually Be theories, and so Bella reluctantly shares her Maybe It Was a Radioactive Spider? idea (Bella in Twilight: "I had been vacillating during the last month between Bruce Wayne and Peter Parker"), and Edward finally crypto-babbles at her long enough that she goes, "Ohhh, you're trying to tell me that you're dangerous." And y'all know my theory about bad boys. So of course Bella's not put off by this at all.

(Another reason to knock their heads together:

[Bella:] "So, in plain English, are we friends now?"

"Friends," he mused, dubious.

"Or not," I muttered.

[Edward:] I didn't like the sound of that. It wasn't enough.
As much as I want to slap them, however, I will refer you to my Twilight Theory #1: Vampire as Metaphor for Teenage Boy: "The entire buildup to their first kiss is this love/hate push-pull of trying to figure out what he's thinking, and it turns out the whole time he was trying to figure out what she was thinking." This is the kind of philosophical rambling you got instead of a chapter commentary the first time around, so... sorry about that?)

So then it's time for class and Edward tells Bella that he's skipping it (they're blood-typing in biology, which would obviously be a bad group activity for a vampire), and reluctantly, they part. And he keeps the lid from her Snapple. And then I'm sure he starts doodling Mr. and Mrs. Bella Swan over and over again.

So anyway, he's out in his car listening to Debussy and drawing hearts on his Lisa Frank Trapper Keeper or whatever when he hears Mike freaking out over Bella's lifeless body:
She slumped unresponsively against the wet concrete, her eyes closed, her skin chalky as a corpse.

I almost took the door off the car.
So Edward flails over there all like GET YOUR FILTHY MITTS OFF MY WOMAN I'LL KILL YOU IF SHE'S DEAD but of course, Bella has just passed out because the smell--not the sight, the smell--of blood makes her sick. She's totally fine, just a little green around the gills. So Edward lifts her up and heroically bears her away to the nurse's office (much to Mike's frustration), cracking up that blood makes her sick, although he's somewhat disconcerted that she can smell blood, because humans can't. Wait, we can't? Because... I'm really pretty sure I can. Does this mean I get to vampire better than you when I grow up? So then Mike Newton and his bloody finger bring in another kid--not a fainter, a bleeder, and Edward and Bella flee the nurse's office, blah blah Mike Newton follows them, blah blah invite Bella to the beach but don't bring The Cullen Kid, blah blah EDWARD CHIVALRY SMASH:
My hand twitched, wanting to teach him some manners. I would have to watch myself, or I would end up actually killing this obnoxious boy.

"Just keep your hand in your pocket," she said. For one wild second, I thought she was talking to me.
So then Bella's all depressed that she has to go to gym because she's adorably, pathologically clumsy. But if you haven't read Twilight, you don't know that yet, because Edward hasn't noticed. So Edward dazzles the registrar (who is thinking dirty thoughts about Edward the whole time) into writing Bella an excuse to get out of gym, and it FINALLY occurs to him that if Mrs. Cope's pulse races when she has dirty thoughts about him, and Jessica Stanley's pulse races when she has dirty thoughts about him, and if Bella's pulse has been known to race, what if... omg.

So then they're out in the parking lot and he's admiring her porcelain complexion in the drizzle or whatever, and probably the ickiest thing in the entire history of Edward stalking Bella casually saunters through, and the reason it's so creepy is because it's so subtle, and realistic, and unintended:
And then she started to walk away from me.

Without thinking about my action, I reached out and caught her by the back of her rain jacket. She jerked to a stop.

"Where do you think you're going?" I was almost angry that she was leaving me. I hadn't had enough time with her. She couldn't go, not yet.
Everybody reading this, I want you to go get a copy of The Gift of Fear right now. RIGHT NOW. Beg, borrow, buy, steal, I don't care. I have met at least three different versions of this guy, y'all, and in the real world he is BAD NEWS.

So then he pulls her to his car and all but shoves her in and insists on driving her home. Sigh.

So anyway, they bond over the civilized strains of "Clair de Lune" and how flaky Bella's mother is and how fabulous Carlisle and Esme Cullen are and he tells her that he'll be gone for a few days snarfling wildlife hiking in the mountains with Emmett. And then he asks her not to fall into the ocean or anything when she goes to the beach because he's so worried that she's so soft and meaty she'll randomly get herself killed, and Bella's so sensitive about being clumsy that she gets mad.
Run, Bella, run. I love you too much, for your good or mine.

She was offended by my teasing. She glared at me. "I'll see what I can do," she snapped, jumping out into the rain and slamming the door as hard as she could behind her.

Just like an angry kitten that believes it's a tiger.
I... I'm gonna have to detox a little while from that level of condescension before I can deal with the second half of the manuscript. Give me until sometime tomorrow, guys.

ETA: Part 2 is here.

(More Twilight recaps.)

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