Chapter Number: 24
Chapter Name: Surprise
Page Numbers: 471-485
Date of Chapter: September 13, 2006
Summary: It is still Bella’s birthday and she is upset that the family wants to celebrate it; her reasoning is that since she wasn’t turning nineteen now that she’s “frozen” at eighteen. Of course Alice refuses to listen, insisting they go see the present that goes with the key she gave her. Edward presents her with a key of his own, which she knows is for her “after car.”
Bella passes Renesmee to Rosalie, prompting her to ask where exactly her baby sleeps. Alice informs her that Renesmee sleeps in someone’s arms and has never been set down since she was born; adding that she is the most spoiled half-vampire in existence.
Bella is happy to see the camaraderie she had established with Rosalie prior to Renesmee’s birth was still very much intact.
Rose and Alice encourage Bella to go see her present. When she wonders why no one else is coming with them to see it, Rosalie makes a comment about seeing it later, Emmett laughs, and Bella feels like she should be blushing for some reason.
Although physically different, Bella was relieved to find out that she was essentially the same person she had been before the transition; for example, she still didn’t like to receive gifts or surprises. She hadn’t expected to retain so many of her human traits and emotions, but was happy to discover that she had.
Alice takes Bella and Edward out into the woods and covers Bella’s eyes with her hands. She is assaulted by the smells surrounding her. As soon as Alice removes her hands from Bella’s eyes, she sees that the surprise is a perfect, tiny stone cottage. The honeysuckle she had smelled was growing up one wall; there was a small rose garden blooming under a window; a path of flat stones led up to the arched wooden door. Bella, dumbfounded, is unable to speak, prompting Alice to think that she didn’t like it.
Bella assured her that she loved it and wanted to know why Esme wasn’t there for the reveal since the renovations had been orchestrated by her. It was well known that Bella was uncomfortable with receiving gifts, and she didn’t want to put any undue pressure on her to like it. Feeling guilty, Bella wanted to go thank Esme right away when Edward informed her that alone time is another gift from the family.
Edward marvels again at how well Bella is adjusting to her new life and muses about how he wishes he could hear what she’s thinking. She tells him she’s thinking about everything, all at the same time, like the good, the worrisome and the new.
The cottage is straight out of a fairy tale; low ceiling with exposed wooden beams, walls were wood and mosaic, a beehive fireplace in the corner burned with a low fire. None of the furniture or accessories matched, yet they fit together perfectly. Some of Bella’s favourite paintings from the main house hung on the walls. Bella is rendered speechless when she sees their bedroom; Esme wanted to bring Isle Esme to them, so the floors matched the colour of the beach, the walls were the colour of a sunny day, and the big glass doors opened up to a secret garden with a pond.
They take advantage of the alone time for some marital intimacy. Bella reveled in the beauty of her husband and her ability to appreciate him even more; she could see all the beautiful lines, planes, and angles of his body, taste his exquisite scent, enjoy the silkiness of his skin.
Bella asks if he misses her humanness; her softness, warmth, smell. Edward replies that he couldn’t be any less sad; to him she is still very much soft, warm, and he doesn’t miss the discomfort that accompanied her human scent.
Night turned to day and yet Bella still craved being with Edward. She asks how long this feeling lasts. Edward replies that it’s different for everyone, but that neither the cravings nor the desires (like thirsting for human blood) ever fade; you just need to learn how to manage them. It took Rosalie and Emmett a decade to get through it. Bella is amazed because she’d never seen any of the Cullens engaging in anything remotely private, to which Edward replies that there are a lot of hours in the night when she wasn’t around to see it. That’s why he’s so well-read and the best musician in the family; while they were all off feeding their other needs, he had a lot of time to himself.
Characters Involved: Bella Cullen, Edward Cullen, Renesmee Cullen, Alice Cullen, Rosalie Hale, Emmett Cullen, Jasper Hale
Character Mentioned: Jacob Black, Seth Clearwater, Carlisle Cullen, Esme Cullen,
Places Visited: The Cullen house, the river, the forest, the cottage
“She’s going to be the most spoiled half-vampire in existence.” ~ Alice to Bella—page 473
It was a relief and revelation to discover how much of my essential core traits had come with me into this new body. ~ Bella –page 474
It was a place where anyone could believe magic existed. A place where you just expected Snow White to walk right in with her apple in hand, or a unicorn to stop and nibble at the rosebushes. ~ Bella—page 479
Edward had always thought that he belonged to the world of horror stories. Of course, I’d known he was dead wrong. It was obvious that he belonged here. In a fairy tale. And now I was in the story with him. ~ Bella –page 479
“We’re going to tell Alice that I ran right to the clothes,” I whispered, twisting my fingers into his hair and pulling my face closer to his. “We’re going to tell her I spent hours in there playing dress-up. We’re going to lie.” ~ Bella to Edward –page 481
“Well, I’m not sure what you mean by normal. You’ve seen my family going about life in a fairly human way, but you’ve been sleeping nights…There’s a tremendous amount of time left over when you don’t have to sleep. It makes balancing your… interests quite easy. There’s a reason why I’m the best musician in the family, why – besides Carlisle – I’ve read the most books, studied the most sciences, become fluent in the most languages…Emmett would have you believe that I’m such a know-it-all because of the mind reading, but the truth is that I’ve just had a lot of free time.” Edward to Bella –page 485
Important Information learned:
Bella is still essentially Bella. Although she has changed physically, she is still very much herself.
Esme has renovated a cottage on the property for Bella, Edward, and now Renesmee so they will have their privacy.
Edward confesses that he doesn’t necessarily miss Bella’s humanness, especially the discomfort of her human scent.
Bella learns that although thirst and desire never fade, they are manageable. It will take time, something they have a lot of, to hone their skills.
Edward is well-read and a talented musician partly because he’s had a lot of “alone time” over the years.
Chapter Prepared By: Oleander