SMDND-Exploring the Theme of "Choice"

General discussion about the Twilight Series Universe.
Visitor1
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Post by Visitor1 »

[quote="Bkwrm"]

However, I *think* that Bella's vision was of a life with Jake *without* the werewolf problem. No magic, no vampires, Edward dead of Spanish flu in 1918... no werewolves.

She and Jake might actually have had a future in a world where he grows up instead of demanding she commit to him 'now, dammit!' at sixteen years of age. Where they could choose to live in another place instead of being stuck in La Push.[/quote]

Well yes, it's very true Jacob probably would never have demanded she "commit" as early as Edward has asked for (but then, Bella is demanding that Edward/someone commit HER to becoming a vampire at 18, so I do think there is some reason for Edward being able to request a commitment on her part, too). But the problem with that is, when, how and where do they ever fall in love so that they commit at some later date? EVERY situation that has brought them together had at its basis Edward/vampires. Without that, when do they become anything more than friendly acquaintances?

That's ignoring, of course, that Bella wouldn't even be alive to meet Jacob at First Beach if Edward died in 1918 -- she'd have been killed by Tyler's van just days into her time into her time in Forks, before she ever met Jacob again. Even if she'd have somehow survived that non-monster-near-death-experience and made it to the beach, well -- when she "re-met" Jacob at First Beach, her opinion of him was that he was very young-looking, she had no real interest other than that she knew him slightly in the past and once he started talking to her, he seemed like a nice kid. A KID. He is 2 1/2 years younger than her, and she's an "old" 17. The only reason she went off alone with him was to try to find out more about Edward, because Sam seemed to know something about the Cullens. She never goes off walking along the beach alone with some kid if she doesn't think he may have some information about Edward. So, no Edward, no "flirting" with Jacob on that first meeting.

Then, if she survives the Port Angeles thing without being killed or horribly physically/emotionally damaged (probably back with Renee or hospitalized for a long, long time), when do she and Jacob get together? She's a junior at Forks High with an interest in English, books, biology, etc. He's a freshman (or a ninth-grader in junior high) at a school on the reservation, with the only interests we know of being cars/engines. Bella's unlikely to want to accompany Charlie down to the reservation to go fishing with Billy, and Billy and Jacob can't come to Forks (legally) that much, since Jacob can't drive legally yet. Bella and Jacob have no apparent shared interests (she's not interested in cars and garages, he has never indicated any interest in reading, travel, etc). So, it's not likely they become close from January to April or May -- and at that point, Phil signs with the team in Florida, and Renee offers Bella the chance to spend her senior year in Florida -- the James attack never happens, with no vampires, but the Florida thing still happens. Bella hates Forks, she hates the rain, the clouds, the cold, the taking-gym-all-four-years, the inordinate interest all the guys are taking in her (she was even uncomfortable with Jacob's evident interest in that regard -- she only got close to him when he put that aside and was just a "friend" for awhile) ... everything. She has appreciated and grown some closer to Charlie in those 4-5 months, but she has made no close friends (she came to like the clouds, etc., because it meant EDWARD would be at school, could be out during the day. No Edward, no coming to "love" Forks). So, when the offer to spend her final high school year in Florida, with her mother and best friend, why in the world would she turn that down? And Bella in Florida certainly never falls in love with Jacob in La Push.

If for some odd reason, she decides to spend her final high school year at Forks, again, when and where do she and Jacob get together? Without that werewolf gene, he doesn't suddenly shoot up to 6-oot-6 and look 25, doesn't have that "mystery, dangerous, alien-ness" to him -- he's still just some 16-year-old "kid" who looks young and acts young and irresponsible. Face it, Bella is attracted to the odd, the dangerous -- the misfit. SHE doesn't feel like she fits in, she identifies with other misfits, those who are different in some way or another. She's unlikely to be attracted to a 16-year-old kid who likes cars and hanging around with other young, irresponsible kids.

And no Edward means he doesn't leave her, so she never falls into this "zombie" state. No zombie state, no need to break her promises to Edward to come alive again, which means no motorcycles, so no time spent in the garage with Jacob, no chance for Jacob to be her "sun" (she certainly had never gone down to the reservation and hung around the garage with Jacob before Edward left -- she's far more likely to be reading in her room than sitting in a garage with Jacob if Edward never existed). Cliff diving and motorcycles and such with a young, irresponsible 16-year-old isn't likely to appeal to her much with no Edward-void to fill. She's been "mothering" her mother all her life, she doesn't seem to be looking to be a "mother" for a bunch of adolescent non-wolves.

So, even if she stays in Forks for her final year of high school, when do the two of them find out they're soul mates? They don't seem to have anything in common without the werewolf/vampire connection. Bella likely goes off to college in some warm-weather place, decides what she'd like to do to support herself and drifts around until she's near 30 when she might possibly meet some different/misfit/dangerous type that she can share her life with in whatever way she feels comfortable.

Bella and Jacob were drawn together because of the "mythical creatures" world that Bella entered because of Edward and that Jacob became a part of because of the vampires.

Bkwrm
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Post by Bkwrm »

You've got me there, V1!

Maybe she would have visited Charlie when she was older; out of college? Maybe Jake would actually have some interests in common with her by then?


But yes, I have always thought that if there had to be "another choice for Bella", it should be anyone other than another mythical creature. And an immature one at that. Jake has very little in common with Bella, and they would have no reason to bond without her risk-taking in New Moon.

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Post by Sasha »

^I agree, mostly. But then, if there were no Cullens then Bella's experience in Forks would be so different that it is hard to imagine who she would end up meeting or what she would be doing. Jacob sure seemed to be interested in getting to know Bella, so he may have ended up prevailing, since it doesn't seem likely that she would find very close friends in Jessica or Tyler.

As for Bella only being interested in mythical creatures... she liked Jake well enough in the beginning of NM, and he wasn't a werewolf yet. In fact, she liked Jacob *better*.

Jacob and Bella don't have much in common, okay. But... what do Bella and Edward have in common?

And, just curious... is Bella's great interest in travel something I've just forgotten about? Because I don't remember her ever expressing a great interest in it, but it's been mentioned twice already. Correct me if I'm wrong, because I haven't read the books in a while.

And yeah, Bella's rushing into vampirism justifies Edward's marriage thing. But even if Bella was not pushing for being changed (yet) I still think he'd have asked her to marry him.
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Post by Visitor »

Visitor1 wrote:And no Edward means he doesn't leave her, so she never falls into this "zombie" state. No zombie state, no need to break her promises to Edward to come alive again, which means no motorcycles, so no time spent in the garage with Jacob, no chance for Jacob to be her "sun" (she certainly had never gone down to the reservation and hung around the garage with Jacob before Edward left -- she's far more likely to be reading in her room than sitting in a garage with Jacob if Edward never existed). Cliff diving and motorcycles and such with a young, irresponsible 16-year-old isn't likely to appeal to her much with no Edward-void to fill. She's been "mothering" her mother all her life, she doesn't seem to be looking to be a "mother" for a bunch of adolescent non-wolves.
All of this . . . every word of it . . . Divine. I've thought it before, but I never thought it before. Know what I mean?

And I know that if December, Lisa and/or TL1 were here, they would probably frown disapprovingly on me for participating in this debate but . . .
Sasha wrote:Jacob and Bella don't have much in common, okay. But... what do Bella and Edward have in common?
What do Edward and Bella have in common? Reading, music, conversation, school, romantic ideals, similar senses of humor, similar introverted personalities, meadows, an equally obsessive love of one another . . . Sorry, I just can't ignore a good open-ended question. :)

And Sasha, what's so wrong with Edward asking Bella to marry him? Is marriage evil? Because even if not for the vampire thing. He'd ask. She'd say no. She'd explain all her ingrained reasons for being against marriage at a young age. He'd feel bad. But most likely stay with her anyway. They'd move on. No harm. No foul.



Slight Change of Topic

I've kind of lost track of the topic of conversation in here. I feel like I'm in one of the 'Who is Better for Bella' threads. And since there are four or five more threads where that one came from. . . I feel it my duty to try to refocus the direction of our discussion here.

Since this thread is all about "Choices", how about taking a look at Edwards's choices . . . We already know that Bella has chosen Edward. We have discussed ad nausea how that choice came about . . . the ramifications of that choice . . . etc. etc. But what about Edward? CatsOnMars said in a previous post that Bella's choice to be with Edward is less risky because Edward can never fall out of love with her. Without debating the "who's love is more risky, i.e. more gratifying" part of the debate, what do we make of the fact that Edward can never fall out of love with Bella . . . Ever? Does that doom him or empower him? Does his inability to love another handicap him in his relationship with Bella? If he's 'stuck' loving her, does he at least have a choice when it comes to staying with her? Generally speaking, if Edward has no choice over whom he loves, what choices remain for him?
"Why did she have to come here? Why did she have to exist? Why did she have to ruin the little peace I had in this non-life of mine? Why had this aggravating human ever been born? She would ruin me."
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Sasha
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Post by Sasha »

Generally speaking, if Edward has no choice over whom he loves, what choices remain for him?
Good question!

Well, he could always leave her... or kill himself... or kill her, I suppose. And then again, there are plenty of people who move on even though they never fall out of love. That's a possibility, too.

What do Edward and Bella have in common? Reading, music, conversation, school, romantic ideals, similar senses of humor, similar introverted personalities, meadows, an equally obsessive love of one another . . . Sorry, I just can't ignore a good open-ended question. Smile
Heh... last comment on this, I swear! It really is getting off topic!
They both like to read, but Edward makes fun of Bella's books. Bella and Jacob have conversations, too. Romantic ideals? Really? I think their romantic ideals are pretty different. They're both introverted, but their personalities are in no way similar.
I give you music, school, meadows (LOL), and love, though. But I'm sure Bella and Jacob have just as many similarities, especially since Bella and Edward's seem so... general (minus the music).
And Sasha, what's so wrong with Edward asking Bella to marry him?
Nothing. It's just that Bkwrm said she thought of Jacob as the kind of guy to get Bella married and pregnant as soon as it's legal (so, two years), and I said that sounded more like Edward to me.

And now I'll let a dead horse lie. LOL. Sorry, I couldn't help myself.

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LisaCullenAZ
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Post by LisaCullenAZ »

Thanks, Visitor!

We really do need to get back on track a bit, guys.

The choice between Edward and Jacob is truly one that arguably could fit in a "Choices" conversation... but we've already got many of those threads here on the lex, so it's not something we should focus on too much here. When it's pertinent to the conversation, like when it helps to emphasize your point, then using Jacob versus Edward is fine (like when we were discussing Jacob as a possible symbol of what she's giving up). But let's not get too fired up over details, or especially over who is BETTER. It's not a debate thread, remember. :)

Back to what Visitor was saying...

What do we make of the fact that Edward can never fall out of love with Bella . . . Ever? Does that doom him or empower him?


I love this. It's so painful, though!

No surprise to anyone who knows me, of course, but I can see arguing both sides of this. he he



I think you could see Edward as doomed by his inability to change his affections. Doomed because... what if he gives himself to Bella and she doesn't chose him? Stephenie has told us that Edward fell in love with Bella during the weeks they weren't speaking to one another. That was really risky! He had given himself to her without having any idea how things would turn out. Bella could very well have gone off yelling and screaming once she realized what the Cullens were and what she was getting into. He knew that, feared it, but in another twisted way also hoped for it. But nevertheless his love for her was sealed before he could ever know her reaction. That was a big gamble, IMO.

Could it have been helped? His heart was stirred for her because of some almost other-worldy connection... but could he have stopped it from developing at that point? Could he have stunted that before it got any more serious? I'm not sure, but if he did have the power to prevent it we know he sure didn't exercise that choice. He let himself fall in love with her. Before he ever openly pursued her. Once he began to speak to her again, to finally pursue her, his feelings were no longer negotiable. By doing this he placed the ball squarely in Bella's court, leaving his future (at least part of it) in her power. That's a dooming feeling, to be sure... like a fish in a barrel.

On the other hand, there is something to be said of not having to make a choice. In some ways it does feel empowering.

It's a loose example, but I remember two years ago when my husband and I were faced with possibly having to move. We'd moved many times before in our marriage, but it had never really been a situation of choice. What I mean is, it was always a scenario like this: "Your office is closing, but you can keep your job if you take a position in another State. Otherwise you can opt to take a severance package and be jobless." The choice for us had always been easy... almost not a choice at all. We always decided to move. To keep the job. The alternative was so undesirable that it nearly rendered the situation choiceless. And so it was easy.

But this one time, two years ago, we had a different problem. We had many wonderful options. All were risky, all were scary, but all had the possibility to yield a great future OR be a big fat failure. We were in a rough position because, this time, we had TOO MANY choices.

I got sick over it! I hated having to chose! I felt like there were way to many factors out of my control. I stopped to remember the earlier moves in our marriage that had felt easier. I realized that the loss of numerous (or desirable) options in those instances had empowered me to confidently make a choice.

Bottom line of this whole argument is this. From what I can see (and from the feeling I get when I read the books) Edward feels empowered rather than doomed. He feels like his choice is made and he'll be able to be at peace with whatever Bella chooses at this point. I don't see him feeling sorry for himself or for the fact that he is unable to change his heart or feeling. And he isn't in denial or anything. He isn't naive or uninformed. He's aware of everything he's risking, fully cognizant of the situation surrounding him.

So Edward's attitude sways my answer, I guess. I can see it both ways, surely. But because he doesn't see himself as doomed, knowing full well the situation he's in, I have to agree with his judgement.

ETA: Sorry, Sasha, didn't see your post! I just wanted to comment on this:
Well, he could always leave her... or kill himself... or kill her, I suppose. And then again, there are plenty of people who move on even though they never fall out of love. That's a possibility, too.
You are right! Really, you are. And we know that he tried the first one (it didn't help her at all), made a serious run for the second one (that didn't work either), and he probably nearly did that third one too, a few times. :lol: But he's past that, thank goodness.

I think in Eclipse, though, we saw that Edward was perfectly willing to go with that last one you mentioned. He's willing to move on and never fall out of love with her if that's what is best for her. He's leaving the ball in her court, no question. It's up to Bella now, and she owns that 100%.

Okay, okay, I didn't mean to digress, I just didn't want to completely ignore your post. :)

And now back to Visitor's question about Edward and HIS choices!
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llovetwilight
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Post by llovetwilight »

LisaCullenAZ wrote:Back to what Visitor was saying...
What do we make of the fact that Edward can never fall out of love with Bella . . . Ever? Does that doom him or empower him?

I think you could see Edward as doomed by his inability to change his affections. Doomed because... what if he gives himself to Bella and she doesn't chose him? Stephenie has told us that Edward fell in love with Bella during the weeks they weren't speaking to one another. That was really risky! ...His heart was stirred for her because of some almost other-worldy connection... but could he have stopped it from developing at that point? Could he have stunted that before it got any more serious?
No kidding! This brings me back to something that we have all discussed before... choice vs. fate... And each time it comes up I talk myself in circles :shock:

I am not sure that we really get to choose who we fall in love with, who we are for. I am sure that Bella would not have actively chosen to fall in love with both Edward and Jake. I think the important role of free will/choice comes in after the falling in love. i.e.- Edward is irrevocably changed by his love for Bella. But he still holds the reins on what he does, how he reacts, etc.

He feels like his choice is made and he'll be able to be at peace with whatever Bella chooses at this point. I don't see him feeling sorry for himself or for the fact that he is unable to change his heart or feeling. And he isn't in denial or anything. He isn't naive or uninformed. He's aware of everything he's risking, fully cognizant of the situation surrounding him.
I think you are right about this. It seems to me that Edward is resigned to his situation; he will always love Bella. And that being the case, Edward has already made his most powerful choice- he opened himself up to Bella. He showed her his true self and his feelings for her and then "let the chips fall where they may".
I'm really glad Edward didn't kill you. Everything's so much more fun with you around."- Emmett to Bella, EC

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Sorghey
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Post by Sorghey »

Thanks for the new topic. I've been wanting to comment on this thread.

What do we make of the fact that Edward can never fall out of love with Bella . . . Ever? Does that doom him or empower him?

The first thing that came to mind when I read this question was Alice's conversation with Bella in the hotel:
It's been almost a century that Edward's been alone. Now he's found you. You can't see the changes that we see, we who have been with him for so long. Do you think any of us want to look into his eyes for the next hundred years if he loses you? TW 410-411.
Okay, granted, Alice is pointing out that Edward would be crushed to lose Bella, but more in the context of her dying because of James. What I actually find telling about Alice's comment is that the Cullens see the changes in Edward; he changes for the better. They see him as being empowered. What was he before? A lonely, brooding man/boy "doomed" to the eternal life of a vampire. Now he is happy, full of life, excited, etc. Until Bella came along, he didn't comprehend the magnitude of his sorrow, his "moonless nights." But now that he is bound to her for eternity, I think he fully grasps that difference. I think he would still choose to be with her forever, even if he wasn't permanently bound to her, because the difference she has made is so significant.

If Edward had chosen to walk away, before Bella knew anything about him, he would have still been in love with her forever, meaning some of those changes would have still happened. Maybe he wouldn't have been as happy as he is with Bella now, but he would have at least been left with the prospect of knowing that his true love exists.

And now, even if Bella chose to walk away from it all, I still think Edward would be empowered. I think he would cherish every second he did have with Bella and use that to pull him through eternity, and I think he could do that because he would remember what life was like before her.

Generally speaking, if Edward has no choice over whom he loves, what choices remain for him?

LisacullenAZ:
But nevertheless his love for her was sealed before he could ever know her reaction. That was a big gamble, IMO.
I love that Edward took all the risks. He defied everything about himself. He crossed every line he wasn't supposed to. All of this was his choice, after he knew he loved her.(Which also shows me that deep down, he values himself a little more than he gives himself credit for.) It makes my heart swoon. It puts more weight on the fact that Edward chose to submit to his love for her and a little less weight on the fact that he can never fall out of love with her. He wants her forever.

Ilovetwilight:
I am not sure that we really get to choose who we fall in love with, who we are for. I am sure that Bella would not have actively chosen to fall in love with both Edward and Jake. I think the important role of free will/choice comes in after the falling in love. i.e.- Edward is irrevocably changed by his love for Bella. But he still holds the reins on what he does, how he reacts, etc.
Yes! I love how you put this. I still haven't decided exactly what brought Bella and Edward together (or Jake and Bella, even)--fate or choice. But after the fact, they are all still making choices.

llovetwilight
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Post by llovetwilight »

Sorghey wrote: What was he before? A lonely, brooding man/boy
LOL I am cracking up- lonely brooding man-boy!!! :lol:
And now, even if Bella chose to walk away from it all, I still think Edward would be empowered. I think he would cherish every second he did have with Bella and use that to pull him through eternity, and I think he could do that because he would remember what life was like before her.
I love your train of thought here... He is empowered by the effects of being in love with Bella.

If Bella had not returned his affection, Edward would have grown just by having "put himself out there" when he opened up to her. And had Bella chosen Jake over him*, Edward would be heart broken but still have progressed in so many ways. As you've pointed out, the Cullens have seen the changes Bella has brought out in Edward. Although Bella ending up with someone else would be far from his ideal (and mine!!!), I still believe that Edward would be better off having had her in his life, even for a brief moment in his existence.

*wow, I could barely type that... :roll: heehee and now, for my own sanity, I must proclaim that I although I think Edward is a better vampire for having been involved with Bella, I certainly DO NOT wish to find out what happens if she were to leave him!!!
I'm really glad Edward didn't kill you. Everything's so much more fun with you around."- Emmett to Bella, EC

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Visitor
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Post by Visitor »

You all have made some great points. But I can't help but have a more negative view of this topic. There is something intrinsically beautiful and sad about all of this. Edward's love for Bella is beautiful. His growth, human maturity, etc . . . as it relates to his love for Bella, is also beautiful. But still, there is something very sad about the vulnerable position his love leaves him in. To sum up my take on this . . . Edward's future happiness is determined/may be determined/is determinable by Bella and Bella alone. And I know that we are supposed to believe that Bella's future happiness is just as determined by Edward, and if it were really true then this topic would be pointless, but is it really? My belief is that prior to Eclipse, I would have answered 'yes' to that question. I would have stated with complete and absolute certainty that Bella and Edward are equally bound to one another for the future sake of their happiness. But after Eclipse, the pendulum began to swing in a different direction. The scales became unbalanced. Bella was no longer as bound in her love for Edward as she had been.

Eclipse contained several epiphanies. While one may have been her unflinching choice to be with Edward, the other was the realization that she did not have to be with him if she did not want to. A realization, a truth . . . that did not exist for her in both TW and NM. In those instances, the draw was more of a compulsion. Similar to that of a moth to a flame. An unspoken and unchecked need. Some would argue that it was not a very realistic or healthy love, but whatever it was, Edward matched it in both intensity and depth. But in Eclipse, all of that changed the moment Bella stumbled upon her Plan B. In so doing, my opinion is that Bella's Plan B left Edward vulnerable and thus, not empowered by his love for her. He is still forced/compelled/bound to love her for all eternity with no other romantic options at his disposal. While Bella can at any moment choose to take what's behind door number TWO. Can you imagine a heated argument between the two of them in the future?

Bella: If you don't stop [Insert Argument Worthy Behavior Here], I will leave you so I can be with my other soul mate!

Edward: Oh yeah? Well, if you do that then I'm going to . . . I'm going to . . . *defeated sigh* Ok, but please just hurry back.

LOL. To say that this is an oversimplification (and completely out of character) is putting it mildly. But it does help me make my point. If you are bound by love in a way that your mate is not, can that love ever truly be equal? We're talking about the unconditional, irrevocable love of a romantic and not too bad on the eyes vampire here! Thank goodness Bella is a good person, but can you imagine that kind of power in the hands of someone else? The only word that comes to mind is . . . shudder.

The knowledge that Bella has a Plan B while he does not has to scare him sometimes. It would scare me. Sure Edward chose to love Bella. He made the choices necessary to get him to the point of love. So technically, he should have to live with the consequences (whatever they may be) of falling in love with a human. He knew at the start of TW how fickle human love was. He said so himself on numerous occasions. So Bella's Plan B, her other soul mate, the idea of it . . . should not be surprising.

But like everyone has already mentioned, you can't help who you fall in love with. So knowing all of that ahead of time meant nothing in the face of Edward's burgeoning love for Bella. It's done now. Edward's heart is forever captured. Which brings to mind that quote:

"Look after my heart, I've left it with you." Edward Cullen, Eclipse.

Maybe those words were not the romantically cheesy ramblings of a besotted vampire. Maybe it was a real honest to goodness plea.
"Why did she have to come here? Why did she have to exist? Why did she have to ruin the little peace I had in this non-life of mine? Why had this aggravating human ever been born? She would ruin me."
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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