Chapter Twenty-Seven – Needs

Chapter Number: 27

Chapter Name
: Needs

Page Numbers
:   605 – 620

Date of Chapter:  June 15th – 16th

On the drive back from La Push, the tears that Bella wouldn’t cry in front of Jake finally overwhelm her and she has to pull over to the side of the road.  Alerted by Alice, Edward is with her almost immediately, and comforts her silently in his arms until she is composed enough to go home and put up a reasonable front for Charlie.  The realization that there is a small traitorous part of her heart that wishes it were Jake holding her in his arms only makes her agony worse.

Fobbing Charlie off with half-explanations, Bella stumbles upstairs to her room and breaks down again completely in Edward’s arms.  She tries to pull off the charm bracelet Jake gave her, but Edward stops her, telling her that it’s part of who she is.  It’s a very long night.  Bella has all too much time to think about the human life she is giving up  — and to realize how deeply she has hurt the two people she loves most, in coming to her decision.  The thought that she vowed only that morning never to let Edward see her weep again for Jake sets off a fresh wave of hysteria.  Edward just holds her quietly and lets her cry herself out.  When she wakes dry-eyed in the morning, he is braced for more tears, but Bella assures him that it won’t happen again.  In the course of that agonizing night, she has at last understood what giving up her humanity for Edward really means — and the pain of that sacrifice will always be with her.  But she has come to terms with her choice.

Edward takes her face in his hands and asks: Are you sure?  He’s never seen her in such pain — he can’t believe this can be the right choice if it hurts her so much.  But Bella reflects that Edward didn’t see her pain when he left her last autumn.   She knows whom she absolutely can’t live without.  He may be strong enough to live without her, she explains, but she could never be that unselfish.  She needs him too much.  With the memory of Bella’s grief so fresh in his mind, Edward is still dubious; but she insists that he is the most important thing in the world to her, quoting Cathy from Wuthering Heights. Edward replies in Heathcliff’s words: “I cannot live without my life! I cannot live without my soul!”  Exactly, Bella says.  She knows what she needs  and what she is going to do now.  (Edward corrects her: what they are going to do).  Go see Alice about their wedding.

Having foreseen Bella’s decision, Alice is waiting impatiently for Edward and Bella to arrive and bursts into transports of excited gratitude.  Bella tries to damp her enthusiasm by repeating her conditions (which Alice has anticipated): the wedding is to take place by August 13th, Bella has a veto over the guest list, and Alice is forbidden to go overboard with the arrangements.  Alice’s exuberance is undiminished and she whisks Bella off to show her the turn-of-the-century wedding dress she already ordered for her months ago — just in case.  Bella is uncharacteristically gracious about these preparations (which she has no taste for); when she emerges, Edward looks at her for a moment, saying simply  “that was very, very nice of you,” before suggesting that they get away and go to their meadow.

After the terrors and grief of the past couple of days, the meadow seems a peaceful refuge.  They lie quietly holding hands, and then Edward asks casually: why August 13th?  Bella explains that it gives her a month’s leeway before her birthday.  Edward points out that Esme is technically three years older than Carlisle, so it’s silly for Bella to worry about the exact age at which she becomes a vampire.  But Bella replies that her age isn’t the real issue: she just wants to get on with it.  She’s ready now — she has made her decision properly, in the full understanding of what it will mean.  What’s the point of waiting any longer?  It’s time to start living the life she has chosen.  Asked about the guest list veto, she hesitates and then explains that she doesn’t want Jake invited because it might make him feel he had to come and she wants to spare him that pain.

Edward is silent at that, and then pulls Bella to his chest to ask why she is suddenly throwing herself into Alice’s plans for a formal wedding.  Bella tells him about her last conversation with Charlie.  Perhaps a formal leave like a wedding will make the business of saying goodbye easier.  Charlie gets his chance to walk her down the aisle, and Renee and Phil and all Bella’s friends can gather to wish her well.  And she will have the chance to declare publicly to them the only part of her choice that can be told: that she is choosing life with Edward and that they will be happy together.  It’s the best she can do for them.

And abruptly, Edward can’t bear it.  Deal’s off, he tells Bella, and she gasps in horror, thinking he has changed his mind about making her a vampire.  He swiftly reassures her that he’s not backing out of his part of the bargain — but he is releasing her from hers.  The prospect of waiting any longer is too horrible: it’s time to get this over with.  His own ideas about what will make her happy have proved wrong time and again; trying delay her, to get her to change her mind, to provide her with reasons to stay human, has only made things worse for her. His way of doing things has hurt her over and over — so they’re going to do it her way:  “Tonight.  Today.  The sooner the better.”  He will speak to Carlisle: perhaps if they give her enough morphine it won’t be so bad….

Bella starts to object, but Edward interrupts to assure her that he hasn’t forgotten the rest of his promise to her.  His lips are on hers and her mind is already beginning to spin before she works out what he is getting at.  Part of her exults and thinks “oh, never mind,” but her responsible self knows she needs to stop him, and quickly: while she can still think clearly about what she ought to do.  “Why?” he asks, when she tells him she doesn’t want to do this now. “This had better not be about me.”  Silly remark, she thinks: everything in her world is about him.  But she explains that it’s important to her to do things right and responsibly and in order.  To give Renee and Charlie proper closure, to let Alice have her fun, and most important to tie herself to Edward in every human way before she lets him make her immortal.  She is determined to follow all the rules: his soul is too important to her to take risks with.  And Edward regretfully agrees. 

And now, she tells him, it’s a good thing he’s bulletproof, because they have to do something dangerous: it’s time to get the ring and break the news to Charlie.  Edward laughs and agrees.  Producing the ring from his pocket, he slides it onto Bella’s finger.  Where, she reflects, it may well stay for eternity.

Characters Involved:
Bella Swan, Edward Cullen, Charlie Swan, Alice Cullen

Characters Mentioned:
Jacob Black, Esme Cullen, Carlisle Cullen, Renee, Phil

Places Visited:
The road from La Push, the Swan home, the Cullen home, the Meadow

Memorable Quotes:

I realized that I’d been wrong all along about the fridge magnets.  It had not been Edward and Jacob that I’d been trying to force together, it was the two parts of myself, Edward’s Bella and Jacob’s Bella.  But they could not exist together and I never should have tried.  ~ Bella looking back on the events of Eclipse.

“You don’t understand.  You may be brave enough or strong enough to live without me, if that’s what’s best, but I could never be that self-sacrificing.”  ~ Bella to Edward

“I cannot live without my life! I cannot live without my soul!” ~ Edward to Bella, quoting Wuthering Heights.

“Edward, I’m ready. I’ve chosen my life — now I want to start living it.”  ~ Bella to Edward

“You can have happiness your way.  My way is always wrong. So…We’re doing it your way Bella.  Tonight.  Today.  The sooner the better.”  ~ Edward to Bella about changing her.

Important Information learned:

Bella now fully recognizes the cost of giving up her humanity for Edward, and the pain of that loss will always be a part of her.

Bella has imposed three conditions on Alice: the wedding is to take place before August 13, Bella retains control of the guest list, and Alice is to restrain herself from going overboard with the arrangements.

Bella wants to get married by August 13 to give herself plenty of time to be changed before her 19th birthday.

Bella wants a veto over the guest list to make sure no one invites Jake, because that will only put him in the hurtful position of feeling he ought to come.

Bella has come round to a formal wedding because she can see that it is the best way of giving closure to the friends and family she is leaving behind.  It also allows her to declare publicly the choice she is making (and the reason she is leaving them): to be with Edward forever.

Edward no longer thinks that putting off Bella’s transformation until after their wedding is best for her.  All the delays he has urged on her have only made it all harder for her: he wants to do it the way she wants, with no strings attached — and as soon as possible.

Bella, conversely, has concluded that Edward was right: before she becomes a vampire she wants to tie herself to him in every human way possible, and take a proper leave of her friends and family. 

Bella is also anxious not to risk Edward’s soul by having sex before they are married.

Bella and Edward are going to break the news of their engagement to Charlie as soon as possible.

Chapter Prepared By:  December