It's also the very last proper chapter in the book, so all the more reason to get it out of the way before Christmas. Had we stayed on schedule I would've posted this weeks ago, which would've been very fitting as the chapter's called Vote.
Bella and Edward put her mortality to a vote with the Cullens, which goes in a different direction to what I was expecting. Then Edward has a proposal for her.
Thoughts as I read:
Knowing how the last chapter ended, with Bella deciding she was off to see the Cullens to let them decide whether or not they thought she should be made into a vampire, she's probably going to put this to them very democratically and ask them to vote on it. It's going to take approximately 22 pages for them to reach a resolution.
Since Bella can't really sneak out of the house very easily, Edward grabs her and jumps out the window, even though he's clearly not happy about it. If he's that unhappy about it, he could always just jump out of the window and y'know, not take her with him. She then rides him like a bicycle through the forest, honestly, that's pretty much how it's described.
Now that Bella's become a bit of a speed freak, she's actually quite enjoying the journey. She used to be afraid so this is some sort of progress. She kisses Edward's neck because she's realised that she is in fact awake now. She also reveals that she doesn't trust herself. Or something. It's all very soppy and I don't really care because this is the sort of conversation that they often have without actually saying anything.
Bella's biggest fear isn't the Volturi any more, it's that Edward might leave again. She sounds like she's got some dangerous addiction problem there. Edward's realised that the best way to prove to Bella that he won't leave again is to just not leave, but it'll take a bit of time to convince her of that.
It's quite funny here, actually. Bella asks for the stuff back that Edward took. He reveals that he just hid it under her floorboards. It's been in her room the whole time!
Somehow Bella sort of knew this all along. And then she comes clean about hearing Edward's voice whenever she did anything dangerous. She comes up with a reason why she could hear him:
Edward loved me. The bond forged between us was not one that could be broken by absence, distance, or time. And no matter how much more special or beautiful or brilliant or perfect than me he might be, he was as irreversibly altered as I was. As I would always belong to him, so would he always be mine?
Yeah. I don't get what that means either.
Whatever it means, love features pretty heavily in this epiphany, so yay! I guess.
Edward then congratulates Bella for doing a better job of surviving than he did. Because hearing voices and being suicidal is clearly better than whatever he spent the time doing. They're definitely meant for one another!
When they arrive at the house everything is as though the Cullens had never left. With one word, Edward has Carlisle show up and take them through to the dining room. Obviously, not much dining actually takes place here. Instead the whole family gathers for this meeting.
Bella fills them in on what's going on and why she's gathered them all here like this. Just in case you've forgotten, the Volturi were willing to let her go on the condition that since she knows about them, sooner or later she's going to have to become one of them. I'm impressed to see that she does give the Cullens the option of whether or not they want her. Seriously guys, say no! If you don't you'll be stuck with her for ETERNITY! If they say no she's going to hand herself over to the Volturi by going back to Italy.
Sure enough she invites them to vote on it. But before he'll let them, Edward announces that he has something to add to what she's already said.
It's involving one of the Volturi named Demetri. He's got a funny tracking ability but he can only do it with Aro's help and since she can't read Bella's thoughts, they won't be able to find her. She'll be perfectly safe. Unless they, I don't know, look in the phone book or Google her or something! Edward thinks it'll be as simple as hiding her if they come looking.
Bella takes this into account and asks everyone there to cast their votes. For the Nos are Edward and Rosalie; and for the Yeses are Alice, Jasper, Emmett, Esme and Carlisle (though he doesn't say it in so many words). Bella then asks Alice where they want to do it which sends Edward off in a rage.
Alice isn't actually sure how to do it without killing anyone, but it's okay because Carlisle knows what he's doing. Edward's trying to backpedal and points out they don't have to do it right now. I kind of agree because this is going to take some explaining to her parents. She should really say to them something before she goes and gets all immortal and sparkly.
Funnily enough, this is almost exactly what Edward says, expect he phrases it that Charlie will send the police round after them. And Bella starts to see sense and realises that doing this will involve losing the people she loved. At least Edward sees reason and suggests that if they do have to turn Bella, they might be best waiting until she finishes school and no longer has to live with her father. This seems like a pretty practical solution to me and I'm amazed to find that I'm actually agreeing with Edward of all people!
With that plan in place, Bella's off home. Edward charges home with her in his arms and puts her to bed. He's trying to work something out and Bella proposes a trade with him. He'll be the one to turn her and she'll wait a full year. She needs it to be done while she's nineteen though, there's no way she's going to let him sneak her into her twenties. She wants to be a teenager FOREVER!
Except the one thing he really wants is for her to marry him. Can you get married if you're technically alive? That's got to make getting all the paperwork together a real problem! Bella's not really the marrying sort though and she's not sure that her mum would approve. I'm sure Renee will be absolutely thrilled with the idea of her daughter dying though.
Suddenly the commitment isn't seeming so hot to Bella. Really, girl? I thought this was what you wanted. Edward's basically said that if they rush off to Las Vegas he'll turn her immediately and now she's suggesting they wait eighteen months.
This conversation wakes Charlie up so Edward hides in the closet while Charlie checks on his daughter. And he wants to talk. That's a talk with a capital T, I think. He's pretty annoyed with her so she starts babbling about jumping off the cliff, then realises that he didn't actually know about the jumping off a cliff bit, which became an emergency when Edward got wind of it and thought she was trying to kill herself.
Charlie, of course, has to ask whether she was actually trying to kill herself, and Bella is a bit of a lying liar who lies when she says she wasn't. Then she says she thinks the Cullens are back for good, at which point Charlie says he won't have Edward messing her up the way he did when he left. Bella then announces that she'll move out if she's not allowed to be with her boyfriend. Dramatic stuff this.
They sort of reach a stalemate. Charlie's not in any sort of mood to accept Edward and Bella's telling him they come as a package deal. In the end Charlie stomps off so Bella can shower. Edward's not too pleased with Bella burning bridges with her father, but he's pretty happy that she's planning on being with him forever, so swings and roundabouts, I guess.