Sunday, February 28, 2010

BLOGGING TWIGHT, pt. 17: If There’s Grass On The Field And Lightning In The Sky, Play Ball

I've been blogging The Twilight Saga for a few weeks now. Not to foreshadow too much, dear readers, but I've read a few chapters ahead and we're coming up on a semblance of a plot soon! Get excited! Previous entries can be found in the directory.

Chapter 17: The Game

Edward takes Bella home to get ready for the ball game, but also so she can introduce him to Charlie. Edward doesn’t seem nearly as nervous about meeting her parent(s) as she was for his, but maybe that’s because Charlie is a normal human being who won’t be posed artfully by a grand piano on a raised platform when they get to his half-glass, zero bedroom house in the middle of the forest. In fact, when they get back to Bella’s normal human house, he isn’t even home; instead Jacob and Billy Black are waiting on the front porch. Edward mumbles “something unintelligible in a low, harsh voice” (pg. 348). I’m guessing it was somewhere along the lines of “cockfucking mothersuckers.”

Edward informs Bella that Billy’s come to warn Charlie about the Cullens being vampires and all that, so he’s going to make himself scarce. That sentence had a lot of proper nouns in it; we’ve hit that number-of-character critical mass where describing minor plot points can occasionally be difficult. (Just be grateful I’m not blogging The Wire—“Herc steals Marlo’s number from Levy’s office and brings it to Carver over in the Western who turns it over to Freamon, but Marlo is only communicating with Spiros through coded pictures”—and so on.) “Be careful though,” Edward says. “The child has no idea.” Bella objects to the use of the word child; she and Jacob are nearly the same age. “Oh I know,” he says with a grin (pg. 349).

Honk if you’re a registered sex offender-Edward’s bumper sticker

When Bella gets to the porch she asks if they’ve been waiting long.

“Not long,” Billy said in a subdued tone. His black eyes were piercing. “I just wanted to bring this up.” He indicated a brown paper bag resting in his lap.
“Thanks,” I said, though I had no idea what it could be.

Gwyneth Paltrow’s head? No, probably not. It turns out to be a batch of some guy’s fish fry. Billy sends Jacob off on a bullshit errand to get alone with Bella, and when she walks into the kitchen and he follows, she mentions his “wet wheels squeaking against the linoleum” (pg. 351). He’s handicapped, we know! You don’t have to rub it in, S. Meyer!

Bella and Billy get down to discussing the matter at hand. There’s a lot of business about whose business it is that Bella is seeing Edward. Bella thinks it’s her business. Billy concedes that it probably is, but thinks it also might be Charlie’s business. Bella counters that it would still be her business to decide whether or not it is Charlie’s business. Then Calvin Coolidge adds that the business of America is business, and Ludacris tells everyone to stay the fuck up out his business.

Wouldn’t this scene be better if they were saying “beeswax” the whole time? Imagine a Diablo Cody re-write:

His eyes narrowed. “Maybe’s it’s none of my beeswax, but I don’t think it’s such a good idea.”
“Totes,” I agreed. “It is none of your beeswax.”
“But it may be Charlie’s beeswax. You are living all up in his hive, home-skillet.”
“Though it would be my beeswax again, whether or not I think it’s Charlie’s beeswax, right?”
“Totes McGotes,” he finally surrendered. “I Guess Jeans that’s your beeswax too.”

So Move On, dot org! am I right? Okay, maybe it wouldn’t be better, but at least if Diablo gave this book a once-over there would be proper punctuation and paragraph breaks.

"Honest-to-blog, there are not enough pronoun antecedents for me to
understand what is happening in this book!"-Juno, calling S. Meyer
on the hamburger phone (deleted scene)

This is an oddly witty scene—my edits aside—which is weird at first because it seems like it should be tense. But we get all kind of exchanges like this one:

“Just think about what you’re doing, Bella,” he urged.
“Okay,” I answered quickly.
He frowned. “What I meant to say was, don’t do what you’re doing.” (pg. 353)

And having read a few chapters ahead of this, I actually think S. Meyer is being pretty clever here. The jokiness of the scene has a way of neutralizing the threat of Billy Black, because something much more threatening is about to come into play.

“Well, Bella, tell Charlie—” Billy paused before continuing—“that we stopped by, I mean.” (pg. 354)

More like Billy Bla-ZING, huh? They leave. Bella tries on clothes. Then Jessica calls—Bella remarks that it felt like months since the dance (which was YESTERDAY!?)—and Jessica is all excited because Mike kissed her. Bella (and I) could give a fuck. Charlie shows up and they have a pretty funny exchange in which she comes clean about her romantic life. For one thing, he literally drops his fork when she tells him.

“He’s too old for you,” he ranted.
“We’re both juniors,” I corrected, though he was more right than he dreamed [GROSS].
“Wait…” he paused [again with the redundant ellipsis!]. “Which one is Edwin?” (pg. 357)

Turns out Charlie is thinking of Emmett, and when Bella corrects him he is reassured:

“Oh, well, that’s”—he struggled—“better, I guess. I don’t like the look of that big one. I’m sure he’s a nice boy and all, but he looks too…mature for you.” (pg. 357)

“His dick seems too big for you,” is what Charlie is trying to say. Edward shows up and they have a fairly stereotypical father/boyfriend introductory conversation. They are both very charming, and Bella acts like a sullen bitch while they joke around but she’s only pretending, I think. This chapter is adorable.

We find out Edward took a different car today; he’s got Emmett’s ride, which is apparently a big Jeep replete with off-roading harnesses. I’m sick of these emblematic vehicles the Cullen family is so into. Rosalie drives the sexy, tempestuous BMW, Alice drives around in the back of a truck for Monster Energy drink, and Jasper drives Kurt Cobain’s station wagon. We get it. The Cullen family puts a lot of faith in brand identity. There’s another paragraph break fuckup here, by the way, when Charlie sees the Jeep:

Charlie let out a low whistle.
“Wear your seatbelts,” he choked out.

Who choked that out, S. Meyer? Edward? He’s the only other masculine pronoun in this scene, but that doesn’t make any sense!

So they drive through the woods, and eventually they reach a point where they have to travel on foot. Bella gets worried about feeling sick if Edward takes her super-sprinting through the woods again, so he reassures her by pining her up against the side of the Jeep and making her think he’s going to fuck her fucking brains out right there in the middle of the fucking woods. I’m paraphrasing, but that’s basically what he says. It’s a big-time seduction scene, and it would be totally hot if Edward didn’t mostly kiss her in places like “the hallow at the base of [her] throat” (362). But anyway, now that he’s gotten Bella all horny he takes her to visit his family. Well played, Edward.

There’s a weird moment where he drops her on the ground by accident and she gets all huffy and Edward starts talking again about she’s going to be the death of him, or he’s going to be the death of her, or they’re going to kill each other or something. I could give a fuck about Edward’s misgivings at this point. We’re really still exploring this theme?

The whole Cullen clan is in the field, waiting. Rosalie is still all angry and aloof, but Emmett’s friendly. Carlisle is marking bases, but Bella notes they seem too far apart. Like she would know!? Alice comes “running, or dancing” toward them—but we get a variation in metaphors finally, because when she runs out toward the mound Bella describes her as “like a gazelle” (pg. 367).

Esme doesn’t play, she just referees, so Bella stands aside with her and they gossip. Have you ever met anyone with whom, you know, you make a little small-talk, and then all of the sudden out of nowhere he or she is oversharing with you about the great tragedies of his or her life, and he or she is giving intimate details and all of that, and you’re just like what the fuck conversation did I walk into? Ever met any of those people? Esme is one of those people. “Well, I do think of them as my children,” Esme says about Edward, Alice, et al. “I never could get over my mothering instincts – did Edward tell you I had lost a child?” (pg. 368). Mind you this is like the fifth or sixth sentence in this conversation, which is their second conversation ever. “It broke my heart – that’s why I jumped off the cliff, you know,” she says. How do you go on from there, conversation-wise? Sure is stormy out here, huh Esme? “Yeah, just like that day I jumped off the cliff.”

You probably already know/guessed what the deal is with vampire baseball. It’s like normal baseball (admittedly with only like three people on a team) except everyone has super-human enhanced strength and they hit the ball harder than any human should be able to. So it’s just like regular baseball, now that I think of it.

Apparently just watching vampire baseball makes you a sports genius too, because Bella starts telling us shit like “Rosalie managed to flit around the bases after tagging up on one of Emmett’s long flies” (pg. 370). Right, because Bella has always been a fan of organized sports. She’s intramural captain of the baseball team, right? At one point, Carlisle hits a sonic-boom home-run, and Alice starts slapping “dainty high fives” to her teammates. “It was almost as if she was dancing with her hands,” Bella says (but not really).

But then Alice stops and gets everyone’s attention; she sees something wicked this way coming. The other vampires who were on their way to town are closer than Alice predicted, and they’ve heard the game and adjusted their trajectory. Alice says there are three of them. “Three!” Emmett scoffs. “Let them come!” (pg. 372). For the next few chapters, Emmett’s whole job is basically to issue threats of physical violence toward bad guys. It’s kind of endearing, but I find myself wishing he was a little more quip-y.

That’s what I’m talking about. That is how tough guys are supposed to talk.

They decide to keep playing and act nonchalant; Edward tells Bella to put her hair down. Good thinking, Edward. Since Bella’s hair is made of steel, that will definitely protect her neck from the vampires. Does she have a collar she can pop for a little extra protection? I’m just trying to think like Edward.

“That won’t help,” Alice said softly. “I could smell her across the field.”

That’s got to help a girl’s self esteem, huh? The Cullens go back to the game, but obviously all the fun is sucked out of it now. It’s actually kind of a depressing thought: everybody was looking forward to the game and now it’s ruined. Here I was bitching about having too many characters all ready, and now we’ve got three more. New people always fuck everything up.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

BLOGGING TWILIGHT, pt. 16: Gather Ye (Vampire) Rosebuds

I’ve been reading Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer, which you may have heard of before, and blogging about my experiences. Previous installments can be found in the directory.

Chapter 16: Carlisle

Edward takes Bella to Carlisle’s office, where the good doctor is sitting behind a big mahogany desk reading. Is it possible to enter a room without finding Carlisle in some kind of dashing pose? I’m surprised he wasn’t facing the other way so he could spin around in his chair all suave and shit. The back wall of his office is adorned with pictures and paintings, and when Carlisle leaves for the hospital Edward fills in the rest of the story of how Carlisle the new vampire became Dr. Cullen, the Gandhi vampire. Okay, I guess Gandhi is going a little far—but he talks about how Dr. C developed his non-violent ideology and persuaded some of his fellow vampires—so I guess it’s more like how he became the David Koresh vampire.

Early on, Carlisle was upset he’d become a monster and tried unsuccessfully to kill himself. Vampire facts: they can’t die by falling off a cliff or drowning. They can’t even starve to death, technically. They just become assholes or something if they don’t drink enough blood. I’m not really sure why they have to feed if they can’t starve to death, but whatever.

There are a few ways to successfully kill a vampire, but apparently S. Meyer is playing that one pretty close to the vest, because Edward doesn’t share any of them with us.

Also, I think I objected to Edward breathing a few weeks ago, and he mentions that he doesn’t actually have to breathe—that it’s more of a habit. The only side effect of not breathing is losing your sense of smell. This might seem like a crass suggestion, but don’t you think over time, breathing for a vampire would become like talking for a deaf person? Wouldn’t Edward smell via a weird, animalistic snort or something? If breathing is unnecessary except for retaining a sense of smell you think their bodies would have figured out a way to reduce lung movement by now.

So Carlisle spent some time hanging around Europe—where he met some civilized vampires and studied medicine. And then he made Edward, and now we’ve come full circle, Pulp Fiction-like, to the backstory we’ve already heard. Almost.

Bella asks Edward if he has always been with Carlisle. “Almost,” he says (pg. 341). Bella presses him, and he confesses to a “typical bout of rebellious adolescence” about ten years after he was vampired. He says he “wasn’t sold on [Carlisle’s] life of abstinence,” so being rebellious, in Edward’s case, means ten years of being a murderer, which is far from your typical bout of rebellious adolescence (pg. 342). That’s the kind of rebellious adolescence for which one usually gets the death penalty. And Bella says this sounds “reasonable.” Reasonable? Think about what you are saying, Bella!

I work at a telephone-fundraising firm, and everyone in the office has his or her own way of talking to the members of various progressive groups we call. One guy, Barry, usually responds to a member who has refused his first ask by asking if a smaller amount, say, X dollars, would be “reasonable.” One day that second request didn’t work either, so Barry made some oblique reference to times being hard, it having been a long winter, but the weather was getting a little warmer, and maybe a gift of X/2 would be more “seasonable.” When you talk on the phone for hours at a time to strangers, you come up with some surprisingly poetic shit. It’s a great gig for bloggers. The “seasonable ask,” as it came to be called, didn’t work. But it would have worked on me.

But okay everyone, don’t panic. It turns out Edward was basically Dexter, and he utilized his mind-reading powers to track down those with the most evil thoughts. I’m not so sure I trust Edward’s definition of evil thoughts; this is the guy who rails about love and lust not always keeping the same company, etc. I trust Dexter to not kill me, but I’m sure I’ve had the kind impure thoughts Edward would probably declare kill-worthy. Also unlike Dexter, S. Meyer really spends almost no time at all exploring the profound moral implications of killing, even killing bad people. Eventually Edward’s conscience gets the better of him and he returns to Carlisle, but we don’t get much more than that. This is a particularly morally bankrupt chapter.

Edward's Wild Years: you can tell this was during
his youthful period because of the shades.

Edward takes Bella to his room, which also has one glass wall. “The whole back side of the house must be glass,” Bella says, in a bizarre shift to the present tense (pg. 343). He’s got a wall of CDs, a leather couch, and expensive-looking stereo, a “thick golden carpet” and walls hung with “heavy fabric in a slightly darker shade” (pg. 344). This room sounds really awesome, and classy too.

There’s more talk about Edward being a little disappointed that Bella hasn’t run screaming from him yet (I feel the same way, Edward), and she tells him he’s not as scary as he thinks he is. So he growls and jumps through the air and tackles her, lifting her into the air and landing her gently on his leather couch, holding her down (cue porn guitar and/or saxophone). Just then, Alice and Jasper are knocking at the door, and Edward readjusts Bella so she’s sitting on his lap. Like a little girl with Santa, you know?

Alice comes in, Jasper lingers by the door. There is a lot of talk about how Alice moves like a dancer—on page 346, Bella says she “walked—almost danced, her movements were so graceful—” to the middle of the room, and when she leaves on the next page she bounds up to the door “in a fashion that would break any ballerina’s heart.” Alice being “like a dancer” is the new “Edward said darkly.”

Jasper says there’s going to be a storm tonight (he actually says “there’s going to be a real storm tonight” which sounds weirdly precocious) and asks if Edward wants to play ball. He does, and invites Bella along.

I rolled my eyes. “Vampires like baseball?”
“It’s the American pastime,” he said with mock solemnity
. (pg. 347).

Nice one Edward! Take me out to the BA-ZING game, am I right?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

BLOGGING TWILIGHT, pt. 15: There is Nothing Weird About The Cullen Family At All

I’ve been reading The Twilight Saga, by Stephenie Meyer, as a sort of cultural experiment. If you want to read along, we’re only about 300 pages into the first book, Twilight. It sounds like a lot, but believe me, it isn’t. I’ve never read a book as closely as I have been reading this one, which is maybe kind of sad for me. Or maybe kind of sad for my Shakespeare II professor, who would probably like me to put this much effort into King Lear. But does King Lear have any vampires in it? Unless they come out of nowhere in Act V, the answer is no.

Previous entries can be found in the directory.

Chapter 15: The Cullens

Bella falls asleep in Edward’s arms, and in the morning he’s in a chair in the corner of the room, watching her. Not weird at all. Bella doesn’t think so, anyway—she literally jumps into his lap. She says she was sure the previous night had been a dream. “You’re not that creative,” Edward scoffs (pg. 313). I see what you did there, S. Meyer.

Charlie is gone—Edward observed him re-attaching Bella’s battery cables in the early in the morning. Another nice detail—I like Charlie. But do you ever notice on TV shows when major characters have a baby, that baby is almost never present and explained away for weeks at a time? Weeds is a recent example this phenomenon, and Friends is the standard-bearer (Six Feet Under is a notable exception). I feel like Bella’s father is Ross and Rachel’s baby.

After this pleasant little closed-form scene, Rachel will hand off the baby to her mother and we will never see her again. I mean, how are you going to have light comedy with a baby around, fucking everything up?

Bella notices that Edward is in new clothes, smooth hair, etc.—he ducked out in the middle of the night. “I could hardly leave in the clothes I came in—what would the neighbors think?” he explains (pg. 315). God forbid anybody thinks anybody else is having sex in this town! They’d never recover from the scandal! Teenagers fucking! Jesus!

In case you haven’t been weirded out by the whole hundred-year age gap thing, S. Meyer provides some wonderfully terrifying moments early in this chapter. For one thing, Bella sits in Edward’s arms for a while and he rocks her. Like a baby. Which is what she is, relative to him. She’s a blastocyst. Later, he’s pushing Bella to tell Charlie about him.

“Are you going to tell Charlie I’m you’re boyfriend or not?” he demanded.
“Is that what you are?”
“It’s a loose interpretation of the word ‘boy,’ I’ll admit.” (pg. 317)

Thanks for reminding us, you fucking creep. Bella bites her lip on this page, too, if you’re keeping track.

Bella scores a great joke—Edward says it’s breakfast time and she clutches her neck in mock-terror. Bella eats some cereal and Edward informs her that he wants her to meet his family today. Bella gulps (you saw that coming, didn’t you?). They leave and drive through the woods for a while until they come up on the Cullen compound. “The house was timeless, graceful, and probably a hundred years old,” she says (pg. 321). I thought you just said it was timeless, idiot! The house is deliberately shaded by “six primordial cedars,” which have the capacity to darken an entire acre according to Bella, but then later she comments on how well lit the house is—Edward says something about this being a place they don’t have to hide. But what about the primordial cedars? This house is full of contradictions.

The whole back wall of the house is glass, which is fitting for a voyeur like Edward. The rest of the place, carpets, drapes and all is “varying shades of white” (pg. 321). Luckily for the reader, Bella does not list all the shades of white like she did with rocks a few chapters back (off-white, paper-white, enamel, white-out, oak-tag…). Edward’s parents are waiting for them, positioned on a raised platform near the door, next to a grand piano. Not weird at all. Dr. Cullen we know, but Bella is once again struck by his youth and dashing good looks. Esme has a “heart-shaped” face, and is described as “less angular, more rounded” than the others. They greet Bella warmly and weirdly. Carlisle says “You’re very welcome, Bella,” which is supposed to be like “you’re welcome in my home” but sounds more like something a waitress says to you when she gives you the check. Esme says “it’s very nice to know you,” which I guess is a nice thing to say—she doesn’t talk about the weather or anything—but she doesn’t really know her, you know? I guess the Cullens don’t get out much (it’s not like they go to dinner parties) so I shouldn’t be asking for much, socialization-wise.

There is nothing weird about any of these people.

Alice and Jasper come down the stairs, Alice first, running in “a streak of black hair and white skin (but I'm assuming she's wearing more than that, I suppose you never know), coming to a sudden and graceful stop,” and then going so far as to kiss Bella on the cheek. Naturally everyone is taken aback by this; it’s the Forks equivalent of Alice running over and reaching into Bella’s pants. “I was startled to feel Edward stiffen at my side,” Bella says (pg. 323). Heh. “You do smell nice, I never noticed before,” Alice tells Bella. Not weird at all.

They start talking about the piano; Bella starts thinking about her childhood fantasy that were she ever to win the lottery she planned on buying her mother a grand piano. Bella didn’t have particularly ambitious childhood fantasies, huh? Why not buy your mother a grand piano when you become a famous astronaut or fireman or something? Dream a little bigger, Bella!

Turns out Edward is musical, so it’s nice he’s been doing something with his time, and when Bella seems unsurprised Esme mentions something about hoping Edward hasn’t been showing off.

“Just a bit,” he laughed freely. Her face softened at the sound, and they shared a brief look I didn’t understand, although Esme’s face seemed almost smug. (pg. 325)

Bella is always mentioning something about the internal-dynamics of the Cullen family she doesn’t understand—this coupled with Edward’s constant cryptic allusions to what Alice sees in the future leaves a lot of minor plot threads dangling. I’m wondering if I should care about any of these or if it’s like LOST and I should just let them go. A page earlier Carlisle and Edward share a weird glance and Edward nods, but it’s a least semi-clear then and explained in short order that they are communicating telepathically—at least in one direction. Edward can read minds so Carlisle doesn’t bother speaking to him out loud, which is kind of an interesting analogy for the relationship between fathers and sons. I also realize it must be hell to live with Edward, to know he can always hear you, which itself could make for an interesting analogy for kids hearing their parents have sex. I doubt S. Meyer will go there, but I’d be impressed.

So Edward plays the piano, apparently making use of his very fast hands, performing a composition described as “complex,” “luxuriant,” and “surging,” which we learn is an original composition (326). The family disappears while our heroes sit at the piano, which again, is not weird at all. Edward reassures her that his family likes her—Esme is apparently happy that Edward is in love, she’s been worried that there was something wrong with him (another unintentional parallel to the gay community, S. Meyer!). Bella notes Alice’s enthusiastic, finger-banging hello, and Edward grimaces some shit about Alice having her own way of seeing things. Enough with this, Edward. Rosalie, who has yet to appear, is still uneasy about Bella, and apparently Emmett is off “trying to reason” with her. I’m assuming this is code for “having sex with,” but with S. Meyer you never really know.

I’d rather be driving a wedge between you and my brother- the bumper sticker on Rosalie’s bed

Plot point alert: the telepathic communiqué between Dr. C and Edward had to do with that fact that apparently another gang of vampires is headed to town, and Edward is going to be extra-protective of Bella for the next few days. For once, this doesn’t turn Bella on—she gets freaked out.

Atheist themes alert: Edward notes that Bella must be disappointed that they don’t have any coffins or piles of skulls in their house, but when they go on a house tour, she stops at the sight of a large wooden cross at the top of the stairs. “It is sort of ironic,” Edward says (330). Bella asks why they keep it there—and for a second I thought Edward was going to be all like, “Haven’t you heard the good news? He is risen!” But he says it’s for nostalgic purposes, it belonged to Carlisle’s father. We find out that Carlisle’s dad was a preacher in the 17th century, which makes Dr. C 362 years old. Shit, son. The Reverend Cullen was an enthusiastic Anglican hate-machine persecutor who enjoyed hunting and burning Catholics, witches, werewolves, and vampires. He was basically Pat Robertson.

The Rev. Cullen, circa 1650

Edward says he burned a lot of innocent people—which I am glad S. Meyer actually notes. In a world in which vampires are real, it doesn’t go without saying that witches and werewolves are not, so the uncomfortable idea that suggests itself is that these old religious-zealot-murder-gangs were on to something. But Rev. Cullen, it is suggested, did not catch any actual monsters.

But eventually Carlisle was put in charge of leading the demon-hunts, and though his heart wasn’t really in it, he was smarter than his father and found an actual gang of sewer-dwelling vampires. He led a pitchfork-wielding mob after them, and because he was (and uh, still is) a young athletic man, he ended up way ahead of the rest of the ordinary citizens (much like the Tea Party gatherings of today, you get the feeling that your average mob of religious fantasists were not the most physically fit people around town). One vampire-creature (Edward describes them as creatures for some reason—they were a little more Gollumesque when they lived in the sewers I guess) attacked, but the mob arrived before Carlisle was finished off. The vampire killed two other guys and made off with a third, in what must have been a scene of Beowulf-worthy gore and destruction.

So isn’t this whole Carlisle backstory kind of awesome? I want to see a graphic novel about this. Get in touch with Allan Moore, S. Meyer! Bella mentions that Edward pauses here, editing something out of the story. I know I just finished complaining about dangling plot threads, but this works. Here, Edward has essentially taken over the narration of the book, and Bella only reappears every five or six paragraphs. So there’s a "Heart of Darkness"-style one-step removal from the narrator which is kind of interesting.

Carlisle apparently feared his father would kill him if he heard he’d been bitten, so he crawled away from the scene to save himself. “He hid in the cellar,” Edward says and “then he’d turned to the wilderness really, not to Mr. Kurtz, who he was ready to admit was as good as buried.” And for a moment it seemed to them both as if they were also buried in a vast grave full of unspeakable secrets.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

WRITING TWILIGHT: Alice Cullen and the Painted-On Bathing Suit

A few weeks ago I registered at under the pseudonym ZechereLettle, as a tribute to Stephenee Meyer and her strenge wey ef spelling werds. I have yet to post or read anything, I just had to lock that name down. For now I'll be posting my attempts at Twilight FanFic here, for your reading pleasure. Someday I'll post one on Twilighted, and will probably promptly be banned from the site. So we have that to look forward to! Previous entries can be found in the directory.

"Alice Cullen and the Painted-On Bathing Suit"

Alice Cullen was getting ready for school, wondering what sort of day it would be. I mean, technically she knew already, but life is supposed to be about mystery or something, right? Really when she thought about it, Alice had enough mystery in her life. Like how she couldn’t remember her life before she was a vampire. What was the deal with that? Alice didn’t know. She knew that someday she would know, or something, but the future is always changing, probably.

Alice looked into her closet. She couldn’t foresee wearing any of this stuff today. That old gray sweater with the holes in it? No, there was no future for that sweater. Alice tried to look a few hours into the future, to see what she was wearing, but the picture was hazy. She couldn’t be sure. So she took her body paint out of the drawer.

When she finished painting a bathing suit on to her body, she walked down the stairs. Her siblings looked at her incredulously.
“You’re really going to…wear that?” Rosalie asked.
Emmett stared. Edward clenched his fists. Jasper’s face was full of blank rage, but that was how he normally looked.

“Oh my god, guys!” Alice shouted, dropping to her knees and holding her hand to her forehead. “I’m getting a vision!”
“What do you see?” Edward asked intently. “Is it Bella? Is something going to happen to Bella?”
“Lots of things are going to happen to Bella, Edward! We’ve been over this!” Alice shouted, and then closed her eyes again. “No, no… I’m getting a vision that… that all of you…”
Emmett looked panicked. “What? What is it?”
“…that all of you are fucking assholes,” Alice finished, giving them all the finger and rising gracefully to her feet.
“Bitch,” Rosalie muttered.
“Cunt,” Alice hissed.
“Ladies, ladies,” Edward started. “Let’s be civil. Alice can wear whatever she wants to school.”
“She’s going to blow our cover with that get-up!” Rosalie said.
“You think a bunch of kids are going to see me in my painted-on bathing suit and immediately think, oh, obviously she’s a vampire!” Alice said angrily.
“That’s a good point,” Edward said approvingly.
“Oh fuck you, Edward. Don’t patronize me.” Alice walked out the door into the cold morning air.

When Alice went to her first class, no one seemed to notice her painted-on bathing suit. She raised her hand to answer a question, and felt like her teacher was trying to avoid looking at her.

Alice hated this town. It didn’t seem like anyone ever thought about sex, ever. How did all of these kids get born? Maybe she was just upset because Jasper didn’t seem to be interested in sex lately either. Sometimes, she could have sworn she was dating a retarded person. Other times she was almost completely sure that was literally the case.

In her next class, Geometry, she sat next to Eric. She knew he was one of the boys who was always following Bella around. So at least he was interested in girls, right? Or maybe he thought Bella would make a good beard? Alice put that thought out of her head. Time to turn on that old Cullen charm! She told herself that she still had it. How else could she have won that Maxim photo shoot?

“That’s an interesting outfit.” Eric said with a smile.
“Yeah? Do you think I look sexy?” Alice asked.
“Er—uh, I, well” Eric stammered. “How did you do on the homework?”

Alice wondered if the damp air was just killing everyone's sex drive or something. There was no other way to explain it. Forks was the most desexualized town in America! It was really frustrating. She wished they were living in Sweden again.

At lunch, Alice figured one of the administrators would take her aside and admonish her for her outfit. Perversely, she was looking forward to it. She just wanted some attention, and any attention would do. But then she remembered that Forks High had no apparent administrators. Who even turns the lights on the mornings?

Gym came next, and Alice mostly stood off to the side. She was avoiding running for obvious reasons, but at this point the other students had ignored her for so long she was getting desperate. But something about her non-participation in athletic activity must have reminded Tyler of Bella, because he came over to talk.

“I never noticed before,” he said. “You have a mole on your stomach.” He ran his hand along her abs. Alice took this as a come-on; she didn’t realize that Tyler had no sense of social conduct and was functionally autistic.

“Do you want to go under the bleachers over there and fool around?” She asked.
“Okay, sure!” Tyler said.
They slipped quietly away from the class and went under the bleachers. The light slanted in from between the seats above. Alice moved to kiss him.
“Whoa! What are you doing?” Tyler asked.
“You said you wanted to fool around!” Alice protested.
“I thought you meant like, play a board game or something!” He said, looking bewildered.
“What the fuck is wrong with this town?” Alice shouted. “I wanted to have sex, idiot!”
Tyler’s head exploded.
Alice sighed and wiped the blood and skull fragments from her face and body. It smeared her bathing suit up; it was ruined. Fuck it, she thought. At least they'd have to move away now.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

BLOGGING TWILIGHT, pt. 14: Preach On, Vampire Man

I've been reading/blogging about Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer. Previous entries can be found in the directory.

Chapter 14: Mind Over Matter

Edward drives home, minding the speed limit this time out of deference to Bella. Our heroine also notes that Edward drives one-handed, which is how we know he’s cool. He starts singing along to some oldies song Bella has never heard.

“You like fifties music?” I asked.
“Music in the fifties was good. Much better than the sixties, or the seventies, ugh.” He shuddered. “The eighties were bearable.”

Okay, so he’s either gay or a Republican, right? I guess this explains his preference for open collared-shirts under sweaters. This guy dresses like he’s an extra in a music video in a film adaptation of a Bret Easton Ellis novel.

This Rock and/or Roll garbage sounds like noise to Edward. What this song needs is either a barbershop quartet or a synthesizer.

Edward fills in his backstory. He was born in 1901, and nearly died of the Spanish Influenza in 1918. I guess technically he did die, if that’s what becoming a vampire is, because he was attended to in his illness by a certain Dr. Acula—er, Cullen.

Edward says Dr. Cullen acted from loneliness, but I guess Edward wasn’t much of a companion because he found Esme (his wife) soon after. “She fell from a cliff,” Edward explains. “They brought her straight to the hospital morgue, though, somehow, her heart was still beating” (pg. 288). First of all I feel like there are too many commas in that sentence. Second of all: that’s a badass way to die. Or not die, or whatever.

You don’t have to actually be dying to become a vampire, it turns out—that’s just Dr. Cullen’s style. But let’s be honest with ourselves: you have to be hot too, right? Bella is always talking about how sexy the Cullens are, so clearly the man has a second set of criteria. People die in hospitals all the time, but the Cullens don’t live on a polygamist compound so you have to keep the family unit small. So if Dr. Cullen reserves his fangs for only the hottest and most-near death he’s got a workable policy. I’m not judging either way.

"A man’s got to have a code." –Omar

We get a lot of back-story in the next few chapters. It turns out that Dr. Cullen originally intended Rosalie to be a wife for Edward, but it didn’t take. Rosalie eventually found her man, Emmett, in the woods about to be eaten by a grizzly bear. She saved him, somehow summoning the power to not drink his blood so Dr. Cullen could vamplify him. I guess she couldn’t do the same for Timothy Treadwell, or she just didn’t make it there in time or something.

Alice and Jasper were not “created” by. Dr. Cullen—they fell in with the family for ideological purposes. Alice, who I’m sure you remember—

—Alice apparently cannot remember her life before becoming a vampire. She just woke up in the woods one day and was one. This strikes me as a detail that will pay off down the line, but if Alice can see the future and she someday finds out about her mysterious past, wouldn’t she know already?

Edward mentions meeting another band of similarly-minded “vegetarian” vampires in Alaska, with whom they lived for a time. “Those of us who live…differently tend to band together” (pg. 290). Whoops, S. Meyer—I think you just unintentionally paralleled the plight of the gay community!

So they eventually get back to Bella’s house and she invites him in, but it turns out he’s pretty familiar with the place already because he’s been showing up every night and WATCHING BELLA SLEEP.

“You spied on me?” but somehow I couldn’t infuse my voice with the proper outrage. I was flattered.

That’s every voyeur’s dream, right? The person you’ve been spying on is turned on by the act? Very healthy reaction there, Bella.

He was unrepentant. “What else is there to do at night?”

Go to a movie, maybe? There’s more though—it turns out Bella’s been talking in her sleep, and he’s been listening. She says his name a lot, and Edward tells her not to be self-conscious about it. “If I could dream at all, it would be about you,” he says (pg. 294). I know this is a corny line embedded in a very creepy scene played inexplicably as romantic, but I like that very Gothic conceit. I wish it were explored a little further, but suddenly Charlie is pulling into the driveway and Edward is making himself scarce.

There’s a funny bit of business where Charlie gets (naturally) suspicious of Bella electing to go to bed early on a Saturday night, thinking she’s probably going to sneak out for some post-dance parties or something. Bella gets to do a little bit of Dexter-style narration:

“See you in the morning dad.” See you creeping into my room tonight at midnight to check on me. (pg. 296)

She’s going to bed early because she hopes Edward is up in her room waiting, which he is.

“Edward?” I whispered, feeling completely idiotic.
The quiet, laughing response came from behind me. “Yes?”

I whirled, one hand flying to my throat in surprise.

Good instinct, Bella. Protect that throat. So Edward is going to just hang around. It turns out he has basically no sense of personal space—Bella has to excuse herself for a “human moment” to take a shower, etc.—and then he sticks around the whole night. Let the girl have some alone time! You’re being smothering, Edward.

Brand Name Watch, by the way: Bella mentions regretting having left her “Victoria’s Secret silk pajamas” down in Arizona, so she resorts to a “holey t-shirt and gray sweatpants” (pg. 298). It seems like there is probably a middle ground between these two outfits, Bella. You could have sexed it up a little.

Back in the bedroom, Bella notes that Edward seems to have his killer instinct under control.

“Does it seem that way to you?” he murmured, his nose gliding to the corner of my jaw. (pg. 299)

These two, with the weird-body-part-touching, oy! Still, it drives Bella to the brink of sexual insanity. She’s very easily turned on, this one. I don’t remember it being this easy in high school. Edward mentions how pleased he is to have found her:

“In the last hundred years or so,” his voice was teasing, “I never imagined anything like this. I didn’t believe I would ever find someone I wanted to be with … in another way than my brothers and sisters.” (pg. 301).

Hold up. Is Edward claiming to be a hundred-year-old virgin? Not buying it, Bella! Use a condom!

Bella keeps expressing disbelief that Edward would overcome his urges so easily—and his face gets “abruptly serious” (pg. 301). Can we ban “abruptly” for the rest of the book, please? Oh, wait—Edward’s face is “abruptly full of ancient grief” on page 305. Anyway, Edward worries out loud that if he is away from Bella too long he’ll lose this new self-control and have to start up again with the conditioning and the telling himself not to kill her, etc., so she tells him to never leave. Which, let’s face it, is probably what he was going to do anyway. That’s basically what he’s been doing—Bella just didn’t know until now. He tells her that never leaving suits him (duh). “I’m your prisoner,” he says. But Bella notices that “his long hands formed manacles around my wrists.”

What a disconcerting moment! Too bad S. Meyer skips right over it like it never happened! Is she even reading what she’s writing? They literally immediately transition to talking about how awesome it is to be in love:

“Isn’t it supposed to be like this?” He smiled. “The glory of first love, and all that. It’s incredible, isn’t it, the difference between reading about something, seeing it in the pictures, and experiencing it?” (pg. 302)

First of all, the pictures? Edward is an OLD MAN. I bet he drinks “tonic water” too. There’s a lot of stuff early in the book about Bella being an old soul, being born middle-aged and all that—but usually when people say that sort of thing they don’t mean “literally has the mannerisms of a resident of a nursing home.” Bella may be an old soul, but Edward is just old. Secondly, I like how this rhetorically sets up Twilight as better-than-your-average romance novel. It’s a more real love than in the movies and books! I see what you did there, S. Meyer.

They talk for a while longer about how much they love each other—Edward talks about how he felt when he first heard Bella say his name in her sleep. You know, when he was spying on her. It’s a heartwarming moment, like the way you sort of have heartburn after you’ve finished vomiting a lot.

He was serious now, thoughtful. “For almost ninety years, I’ve walked among my kind, and yours…all the time thinking I was complete in myself, not realizing what I was seeking. And not finding anything, because you weren’t alive yet.” (pg. 304)

Where’s Jeff Magnum when you need him to write an album about this bizarre predicament? The world just screams and falls apart.

Charlie eventually turns up and pokes his head in to check on Bella—Edward hears him coming and hides. Then, you know, they have the night, if you know what I’m saying. And Bella doesn’t want to sleep.

“So if you don’t want to sleep…” he suggested. My breath caught.
“If I don’t want to sleep…?”
He chuckled. “What do you want to do then?”

Okay, I changed the last line. She says “I’m not sure.” They end up talking more. And like many a late-night conversation between teenagers, shit gets deep.

“So where did it all start? I mean Carlisle changed you, and then someone must have changed him, and so on…” (pg. 308)

S. Meyer doesn’t mention the bong but I’m assuming it’s there. I needed to interrupt this exchange because you need to be prepared for what you are about to read. Basically, Edward takes this moment to make a case for Intelligent Design.

“Well, where did you come from? Evolution? Creation? Couldn’t we have evolved in the same way as other species, predator and prey? Or, if you don’t believe that all this world could have just happened on its own, which is hard for me to accept myself, is it so hard to believe that the same force that created the delicate angelfish with the shark, the baby seal and the killer whale, could create both our kinds together?” (pg. 308).

This strikes me as a very boneheaded place to raise such an issue. Assuming that S. Meyer is a Mormon, I’m thinking it’s more than likely that she is not one of the something like 29% of Americans who do believe in evolution. And yet, here she is writing a story about vampires, which are not real (S. Meyer presumably does not actually believe in vampires) and using them to bolster an argument, apropos of basically nothing plot-wise, for what amounts to Intelligent Design—invoking delicate creatures being one of the rhetorical hallmarks of ID proponents. This isn’t helping the cause any. Using a fictional, mythical creature to argue on behalf of a real-world belief is not only jarring character-and-story-wise (“which is hard for me to accept myself”?) you’re also building your house on sand, so to speak. Because vampires aren’t real! All in all, just a very weird moment.

One thing is for sure: the religious influence is finally showing. Bella starts asking if vampire “marriage” is the same as it is for humans. At first, it sounds like she’s talking about marriage, but it turns out “marriage” is Bella’s euphemism for “sex.” How quaint. “Most of the human desires are there,” Edward says. “Well, I did wonder…about you and me…someday.” Bella replies (pg. 310). When I thought she was talking about marriage-marriage I was thinking, Jesus Bella, you just met the guy! When I realized she meant sex I was even more incredulous. He’s in your bedroom right now! What are you waiting for?

Edward says it wouldn’t be possible for them to fuck. “Because it would be too hard for you, if I was that…close?” That’s what she said. Bella, I mean. That’s what she said in reply.

“That’s certainly a problem, Edward says (pg. 310). “But every guy has to concentrate a lot the first time” (citation needed). Edward’s actual concern is that Bella is too fragile. “I could reach out, meaning to touch your face, and crush your skull by mistake” (pg. 310). Or he could mean to playfully knock her head against the headboard and put her through a wall, or try to touch her chest and rip her heart out, or try to put her leg over his shoulder and tear it off—there are all kinds of potential problems.

Then, get this—Edward wants to know if she is a virgin too. Bella is a little embarrassed he even asks (of course, he barely fucking asks—this chapter is written to sail over the heads of younger audiences—I barely understood what was happening).

“I know. It’s just that I know other people’s thoughts. I know love and lust don’t always keep the same company.”

This chapter brought to you by the 700 Club.

Also this week, my show Rock and Sock and Robot turned one year old! Happy Birthday, RSR!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

WRITING TWILIGHT: An Apple A Day Keeps The (Vampire) Doctor Away

It has come to my attention that there is a lot of Twilight Fan Fiction out there. For the moment I am staying away—spoilers and all that—but I know that with my pedigree as an emerging Twilight scholar sooner or later I’ll have to start writing some. So from time to time on this blog, I will post some potential submissions for your reading/reviewing pleasure. We can all do this, dear readers. You’re talented people, I can tell from the comments. Speaking of that—I would urge those who don’t already to check the comments on some older posts. People are making some great points! There is substantive discussion going on! About Twilight!

So now, a short story I have titled “An Apple A Day Keeps The (Vampire) Doctor Away.”

Edward Cullen considered the apple. He remembered liking them as a child. Fruit was sweet, wasn’t it? Probably not as sweet as the blood of the certain varieties of rabbit he and Jasper had found a few weeks ago, but sweet nonetheless. It will probably taste like dirt, he thought, but sweet dirt. That didn't sound too bad.

“Edward, what the fuck?” Bella was looking at him quizzically.
“I just thought maybe I’d take a bite of this apple,” he said in the gentle cadences of an earlier century.
“Well, you’re staring at it like you’re going to fuck it.” Bella said with an edge to her voice.
“You don’t want to see me eat it?” He asked, smiling wryly.
“I’ve seen you eat before. It was nothing special.” She tried to sound sarcastic in an endearing way, but she realized that she probably just sounded like a bitch.

Edward's eyes were warm, but his lips were closed in a straight line. His neck was taut, and his fingers were clenched, white-knuckled, around the apple. He smiled politely, but with a note of menace. His expression was difficult to read.

Bella slapped the table impatiently, but lovingly. “Do it bitch,” she said gently.
Edward moved to take a subtle bite. His teeth nibbled on the surface, equivocating. “You’d like me to eat you, wouldn’t you, little apple?” He said in barely a whisper.
“What?” Bella asked.
“Nothing,” he murmured. He turned back to the apple. “And maybe I will. After all, I certainly could. My teeth are razor sharp. You wouldn’t be able to resist me.” He took a small bite, tearing voraciously into the flesh. He chewed with a threatening, but vaguely comforting rotation of his perfect jawbone. “I shouldn’t eat you, and yet I am powerless!” He screamed out loud.
Across the cafeteria, several students looked over curiously.
Bella felt the blood surge to her cheeks. She knew Edward would notice.

But he did not. He took a second bite, with a certain kindness in his eyes and violence in his hands. He swallowed the bite of flesh whole.
“What am I doing here?” he said sadly.
“Eating an apple like a jackass,” Bella said forlornly.
“I have some human instincts,” Edward said defensively.
“You have mostly human instincts,” Bella countered crossly. “You are sitting here at a table talking in a human voice attending a human school. You’re not running through the woods on all fours or making guttural noises or anything,” she continued conversationally.
“But I’m dangerous,” he talked talkingly.
Bella looked aroused, but also humiliated.

“Apple,” Edward said addressingly, “I am going to take another bite now. But I’m learning restraint.” His smile was pleasant. His third bite was not so pleasant. He rotated the apple around so fast it was a blur. He aggressively placed the chewed up core down on the table tenderly. His face was placid, but full of rage.

“What was that about?” Bella asked, her voice full of irritation.
“Fuck you Bella,” Edward said magnificently.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

BLOGGING TWILIGHT, pt. 13: Diamonds (and Vampires) Are Forever

I've been reading Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. And how long have I been reading it? A long time. Previous entries can be found in the directory.

Chapter 13: Confessions

So, yeah, uh Edward sparkles in the daytime. Like, he's got diamond-covered skin? Yep. That's what happens. I've already mentioned that I could really care less about the whole desecration-of-the-vampire myth thing, but this is the detail people seem to disagree with the most. I don't really see why. It's a little weird, sure, but it is in keeping with the Twilight notion of the more realistic vampire.

Every vampire film does a slight variation on this idea - see THIRST and LET THE RIGHT ONE IN, two (great) recent vampire movies in which that part of the myth does not factor heavily on the plot but is still utilized in clever (and shocking and awesome) ways. Think of diamond skin as the mildest possible reaction to the sun - you can see how time and gossip and oral tradition would have, within S. Meyer's universe, exaggerated the "truth" about vampires (they sparkle in sunlight) to the sort of "myth" (they burst into flames) Edward scoffed at earlier in the book. As opposed to that thoroughly post-modern conversation section earlier, this is just a head-fake toward older vampire stories, but again, one detractors seem to have missed.

Bella's description is a little underwhelming, though:

His glistening, pale lavender lids were shut, though of course he didn't sleep. A perfect statue, carved in some unknown stone, smooth like marble, glittering like crystal. (pg. 260)

That statue metaphor happens only pages earlier, sans the "glittering like crystal" part. So he still looks like a statue, but now he's a really tacky one.

So for essentially this entire chapter, Bella and Edward sit in a field and touch each other. Not even particularly fun touching - mostly they just rub jawbones and shit. I'm serious. Scenes that pass for tense also read like they might suddenly shift into a Mentos commercial.

"What are you afraid of then?" he whispered intently.
But I couldn't answer. As I had once before, I smelled his cool breath on my face. Sweet, delicious, the scent made my mouth water. (pg. 263)

Bella's reaction to his breath freaks Edward out, so he retreats into the woods and threatens her for a while. Stupid Edward, don't you know that's just going to turn her on more? "I'm the world's best predator, aren't I?" He asks (probably rhetorically). "Everything about me invites you in...As if I need any of that!" Then he rips a branch down from a tree and smashes it into a bunch of pieces. This scene has a lot of Edward's standard emotional variation, but the beats are broken up by action like this, so it sorta works.

Edward apologizes for the Incredible Hulk routine.

"So where were we, before I behaved so rudely?" he asked, in the gentle cadences of an earlier century. (pg. 265)

I can think of at least two things wrong with that sentence. For one thing, that doesn't sound like the gentle cadences of an earlier century! It sounds like the normal cadence of a normal day. I suppose if Edward was really hip and with it he'd say like "My B shorty, sorry I was such a prick and shit." But what he says is fine! It's not old timey at all! It's not like Edward's speaking in blank verse:

Before behaved my person so rudely where
or on what subject spoke we, my dearest love?
-From "Much Ado About Vampires"

Also, we'll learn in a few pages that Edward was born in 1901, which is the 20th century! It's not like he's still adapting from Auld, Beowulf-style English or anything!

There is a lot more of Edward talking about how he can't/shouldn't be with her. Bella is feeling lost. "It was hard to keep up - his sudden mood changes left me always a step behind, dazed," she says (266). AMEN, BELLA.

Edward goes through a series of stupid metaphors trying to explain why Bella tempts him so.

"You know how everyone enjoys different flavors?" he began. "Some people love chocolate ice cream, others prefer strawberry?" (pg. 267)

So does Edward like black girls or redheads? I'm confused. Give me another metaphor, Edward. This one's not working.

"If you locked an alcoholic in a room full of stale beer, he'd gladly drink it. But he could resist, if he wished to, if he were a recovering alcoholic. Now let's say you placed in that room a glass of hundred year old brandy, the finest, rarest cognac..." (pg. 267)

Oh! So the denizens or Forks are the stale beer, Bella is the cognac, Forks is the room, and Edward is the alcoholic! And he wants to drink Bella's contents! I get it. Thank you, Edward (and thanks for not being condescending at all). That was the right comparison.

"Maybe that's not the right comparison. Maybe it would be too easy to turn down the brandy. Perhaps I should have made our alcoholic a heroin addict instead."

Well no, Edward. That metaphor blows. Because even though I gather from The Wire that some heroin is better than others - WMD is better than yellow-top, etc. - I also gather that brand names are fleeting when it comes to heroin. Sometimes they are just products of Stringer Bell's machinations. It might be called WMD one day and Bin Laden the next, but it's still the same package! That doesn't happen with brandy.

Also heroin addiction I conceive of as more of a binary condition - addicted or not - not addicted to a specific brand. Really when you get down to it that's probably true of alcoholism too. And when you really get down to it, alcoholism for some can be just as harrowing as heroin addiction, so you're not really trading up with your metaphor, but at least alcohol is something you drink. So it works on that level if no other. Quit while you're ahead, Edward!

"So what you're saying is, I'm your brand of heroin?" I teased, trying to lighten the mood.
He smiled swiftly, seeming to appreciate my effort. "Yes, you are exactly my brand of heroin." (pg. 267-8)

I'm glad we had that exchange, because Edward's metaphor wasn't quite crass enough on it's own. Edward should have just said, "It's like I'm Hitler and you're exactly my brand of Jew!"

Also, there's a telling word choice when Edward relates sharing his overpowering brand identity problem with his brothers. Jasper, apparently, can't differentiate between flavors - "It's a struggle for him to abstain at all," Edward says. I got so confused with all of Edward's metaphors back there I almost forgot the central allegory of this book for a second. Thanks for reminding me, S. Meyer!

Also, some dark shit happens. Emmett met two people (girls, probably) for whom he experienced feelings similar to those Edward is experiencing now, and it is strongly suggested that he killed both of them. "Even the strongest of us fall of the wagon, don't we?" Edward asks. "What, are you asking my permission?" Bella replies (pg. 269).

It's troubling to me that Bella doesn't immediately confront the moral reality of loving someone who has presumably also killed people - she doesn't ask but it seems like a glaringly obvious question - have you fallen off the wagon? Are you a murderer? We don't get to that. Edward has a few more metaphors, though:

"To me, it was like you were some kind of demon, summoned straight from my own personal hell to ruin me." (pg. 269)

He recounts his experience that first day of school, and how he fantasized about killing Bella all day. Actually, he recaps a good portion of the plot - if you want to get through this book fast you could probably start on page 270. There's not a lot of new plot in this chapter, just detail. The long and short of it is they're in love now.

"And so the lion fell in love with the lamb..." he murmured.

I don't know what's with the punctuation up there. What do you need ellipses for within lines of dialogue if you're not truncating a quote (especially if you're going to end with "he murmured")?

I will say that with lines like that one, plus the overall tone of sexual repression - for some reason I feel like Morrissey would really dig this book.

"What a stupid lamb," I sighed.
"What a sick, masochistic lion," Edward said.
"Is it wrong to want to live on your own?" I asked.
"No it's not wrong but I must know - how can someone so young sing words so sad?"

Then comes the touching. Edward puts his hand on Bella's neck, to demonstrate his powers of restraint. Then he rests his "cold cheek against the hollow at the base of [Bella's] throat." Bella mentions at one point that Edward catches his breath. He breathes? Why?

Then more touching with Bella taking the lead.

"I caressed his cheek, delicately stroked his eyelid, the purple hollow under his eye." (pg. 277)

What are you a blind person, Bella? FUCK ALREADY! C'mon!

There's a running gag about Edward not having any human instincts - Bella compliments him on his faux-humanity when he wraps his arm around her. Well, first of all, give the guy a little credit - he walks upright and everything. Also, putting your arms around something is kind of an animal-like instinctual gesture; my cats do it to each other and it is very cute.

Finally, Edward wants to show Bella how he travels in the woods. "Will you turn into a bat?" Bella asks. He laughs, we all laugh, angry vampire purists gnash their teeth and weep in their basements. It turns out what Edward does is he runs really fast. Which is kind of boring, but rushing through the woods at breakneck speed almost slamming into trees like that movie INTACTO freaks Bella out, and she has to lie down on the ground for a while.

When Bella recovers they actually kiss, and Bella goes into a wild sexual frenzy. I'm not joking. That is what happens.

Blood boiled under my skin, burned in my lips. My breath came in a wild gasp. My fingers knotted in his hair, clutching him to me. My lips parted as I breathed in his heady scent.
Immediately I felt him turn to unresponsive stone beneath my lips. (pg. 282)

Out of context, that last sentence could also be from the allegedly considerable amount of romance-novel-style-Twilight-porn-fan-fiction available online.

Edward takes the attack in stride - Bella feels all the more "besotted" by him (pg. 283). Besotted? Now who is speaking on the gentle cadences of an earlier century? How now, Bella? Wherefore speakest thou, in such marv'lous proper manner? Yet thou mockest Edward withal? What giveth?

Bella's still a little woozy and can't drive. "You're intoxicated by my very presence," Edward gloats (pg. 284). "It's like I'm your personal gas chamber!"

He might not have said that last part.