Anyway, the last chapter we read saw Bella's return home, along with a reunion with the Cullen gang. Oh, and Charlie was not best pleased about the whole situation! Couldn't really blame him there though.
So, without further ado, here's Chapter 23: The Truth.
Bella wakes up to discover Edward is in her room and she isn't dead. They have a L-O-N-G chat about stuff. And feelings. And they kiss a bit too.
Thoughts as I read:
I wonder if this chapter title means that everyone is going to come clean with Charlie about all the craziness surrounding his daughter. It's probably too much to hope for. They'll just be telling Bella the truth about what they have to do next or something.
It's as though we've never been away, since the chapter begins with Bella dreaming and waking up. The dreams she's having are kind of weird. There are monsters and an angel and Bella doesn't want to come round.
When she does wake up, it's as though the angel is still there. Cold and stony. Oh, I wonder who that could be?
Of course if you guessed Edward, you would be right. Bella automatically decides that she's probably delusional:
This was very good, as delusions went. The face, the voice, the scent, everything - it was so much better than drowning. The beautiful figment of my imagination watched my changing expressions with alarm. His irises were pitch-black, with bruise-like shadows under them. This surprised me; my hallucinatory Edwards were usually better fed.
She proceeds to decide that the day she tried to drown herself must have actually worked and all the events since then are just some sort of hallucination. The fact Edward is still here with her is obviously evidence that she's dead. Edward has to gently explain to Bella that she is truly awake and he's definitely here with her.
It takes best part of a page for her to realise he's speaking the truth.
She's still rather slow on the uptake, musing on the fact that she's actually gone all the way to Italy and back, when she learns that Charlie outright banned Edward from entering the house. Considering vampires need to be invited into a building, you'd think banning him from it would cause Edward some sort of problems. Except it doesn't. He just came in through the window instead.
We establish that Bella was away for three days total and they have to come up for some sort of explanation for Charlie about where she's been and why. Edward, for all his age and world experience, has no idea what to tell him.
They set aside thoughts of this, hoping that Alice will be able to come up with a plausible story, so Bella can find out what Edward was up to while they were apart. He was hunting. Well, tracking. My guess is that it was some bad vampires or perhaps some werewolves, just to make things really uncomfortable for the gang here in Forks.
He then apologises to Bella, which really surprises me because he doesn't really seem like the sort of person who spends much time thinking about other people. Edward didn't realise what sort of danger he was leaving Bella in, especially leaving her in the clutches of the filthy werewolves. He actually goes on for a good two paragraphs. I don't think I've ever seen him speak so much!
Next it's Bella's turn to waffle. She's warbling on about how he can't let himself be ruled by his guilt at failing to protect her. Even though, if he wants to protect her, running away when there are hungry vampires on their way to the town in search of Bella is a pretty poor way of doing it.
But Edward went to the Volturi to be bumped off not because he felt guilty, but because he couldn't imagine living (should that be 'being undead'?) in a world without her. He wasn't really breaking up with her and saying goodbye, rather he was hoping that by pretending he had moved on then she would move on too and that would make things easier for them both.
I don't really get this vampire logic, but I'm guessing this is 'the truth' of the chapter title.
He then goes on to kind of berate Bella about the fact that she let this 'one word' break her faith in him. Well, he seemed pretty final when he said it, then disappeared without a trace. So I suppose she might have gotten a bit of a mixed message there.
Rather than being really annoyed with him, Bella seems happy to hear this news though she is then even more convinced that she is dreaming than she was before. Jeez, there's no pleasing some people. A minute later and they're professing their love and kissing one another:
His mouth was on mine then, and I couldn't fight him. Not because he was so many thousand times stronger than me, but because my will crumbled into dust the second our lips met. This kiss was not quite as careful as others I remembered, which suited me just fine. If I was going to rip myself up further, I might as well get as much in trade as possible.
Half a page later they stop kissing and Edward breaks it to Bella that he's not leaving again. That'll be a fun conversation to have with Charlie.
He's realised that leaving without her was a mistake, so if he goes again, she'll have to go with him. See Bella, this is why you should be careful what you wish for! Now you're stuck with him again.
There's another page of chat, but it's more rehashing of what's been said before, so I think we can skim past it. Blah blah blah he loves her blah blah blah life/death has no meaning without her blah blah blah.
Oh, and in all of this talk he reveals that he was hunting Victoria. In fact he still means to find and destroy her. That'll be nice for them all.
Bella does point out at this point that he did just say he wasn't going to leave her again. Does this mean she gets to go with him and play bait again? Edward's not clear on that, but I think it'd make for a fun read.
Right now she's less concerned about Victoria than she is about the Volturi, though Edward's fairly blase about that. He reckons they won't care enough to come looking for her for another decade or so. Well that's a relief. At least she's not going to have that hanging over her for the next twelve years or anything!
The fact that he mentioned her turning thirty has upset her though. Bella turning thirty means that Edward isn't going to turn her. She's disappointed that her boyfriend doesn't want to 'destroy her soul'. She's especially bothered by the fact that sooner or later she will be old enough that people will think she's Edward's mother or grandmother. That would be kind of a squicky relationship right there. Edward doesn't think it's going to be an issue though. Perhaps where he comes from 80 year olds regularly shack up with people who look like they're in their late teens.
Also Edward has some plans involving the Volturi and Bella and her still being human when these plans are put into action. He remains characteristically tight-lipped on the subject.
Of course, he's able to put together plans about how to deal with the Vampire Mafia, but he can't come up with a plausible excuse for Bella being away from home for three days!
At this point Bella decides that she's off to Edward's house, regardless of the fact that leaving in her truck will wake Charlie and get her into even more trouble than she's already in. She seems to be cool with this, because she has a plan too.
She's off to conduct a vote amongst the Cullens as to whether or not she should remain mortal.