EP Read Along Week 26 Chapters 72-75
Ciao to all mia bella ragazza. I hope you’re ready for these next four chapters. They not only span several years, but they are long and emotionally charged scenes. I found them intensely difficult to read even the second time around. It’s incredible how my real life mood was affected. It felt so real somehow. I think you’ll agree they were also filled with the most drama, action, and I believe the best written chapters so far. I will try my best to summarize them into the main ideas, but there was so much, that I found it nearly impossible, word h00r that I am.
Hold on tight, get the kleenex and please tell me all your thoughts.
Chapter 72 BPOV Errors & Pardons
Bella is still in and out of consciousness and vaguely recalls being rescued by Edward and company. She’s taken to Esme and Alec’s home as she slowing recuperates. First thing she asks for is Edward, who unbeknownst to her has been called away for mob duty. Wait until she finds out
what Edward did!
Next time she wakes up, she happily sees Edward sleeping in bed with her and they fill each other in with missing pieces of what happened. Bella tells Edward that James wanted to kill him back in Forks and how she begged for his life. Edward grabs on to that and says, “You would sacrifice for me? You’d throw your life away if it meant I’d keep mine?” Of course he needs and wants her to know that he would and did the same for her. Edward mentions he’s starting to see he’s a lot like his father. Edward finally starts giving her the gruesome details of being arrested along with Alec and Carlisle who were not out in time to help find her. So Edward went to the only person he knew could help, Aro. He blurts out that he sign on, he took the oath. She says no to take it back, and of course he can’t, there’s no getting out alive of that membership. He tries to make her understand he did the only thing he could to save her and he reminds her she would have sacrificed for him too.
Emmett stops by to visit and tries to explain that Edward joining was “shitty” but he would probably have done the same thing. Life, he reminds her, isn’t some ideal fairy tale especially for them. Bella has to deal with being the reason Edward joined, she’s feeling guilty yet again. She’s feeling the loss of a future they had started to plan.
Edward and Bella take a walk and end up sitting on the stairs of his childhood home. He tells Bella his mother loved this white house. We’ll see this house again later.
They return to Forks and Edward says “Welcome Home” and Bella feels like she really has come home. It’s where they found love.
Carlisle has a heart to heart with Bella. He explains and apologizes for what he did to her on the anniversary of Elizabeth’s death. He tells her how the moment he let himself know Bella, he was done for. That he cares about Bella as one of his own, just as Elizabeth said he would. He hopes she does something in her life, that she deserves it, she’s worth it. He shows her his monitoring device and how ironic it is he’s in the same position she once was. He’s trying to right all his wrongs, he feels like he’ll be sent to prison and I think he’s trying to fix as much of what he can before that happens. He gives Bella Elizabeth’s journals in hopes they will help her cope with her freedom and her role next to Edward. He hopes she can use Elizabeth’s mistakes so as not to make the same ones. Bella tells Carlisle she forgives him, that he’s been the father Charles never was, that he’s always been there to help her, and that he’s a good man.
When I first read this, I thought for sure Carlisle was going to solve everything, I thought he would be able to get Edward out of his commitment to the mob, I really wanted Carlisle to fix it all. Did you? Have you changed your mind about Carlisle?
Chapter 73 EPOV Searching
Edward describes how horrible life in the mob is, he’s not in it for the money and he hates what he sees, the violence, and those pretending to be strong as they hide behind their titles. He names it all; assault, extortion, drugs, prostitution, corruption, arson, human trafficking and murder...he doesn’t want that kind of power. I don’t know about you, but I worry about Edward. He’s just not made for this life, he doesn’t have what it takes to do all of those evil things, yet here he is in the middle of it all. Edward tells about what a wreck he’s been and everything that went into looking for Bella. He compares his mother and Bella as being finally freed, only to be taken down by evil in the end. His mother’s words ring true, “A person couldn’t escape their fate no matter how they tried...” Edward feels he was always meant to be in the mafia and so no matter how hard he may have wanted it other wise, it was just meant to be. Also Bella’s fate was to be free and he’s determined to make it so for her.
Aro makes Edward watch how men turn against their own family when loyalty to him is required. Edward believes, Aro wants him to know that if need be, he will be expected to kill his own father or even brothers if asked to. Do you think Edward could ever do that if forced to? I don’t, not for a minute. But he fakes his loyalty and now understands how Bella was able to say yes sir, when she really wanted to say “f**k you.”
They go back to Forks and he hopes things will get better, but they don’t. Both E/B start shutting down emotionally. Edward is sent out on drug dealing and starts learning the ropes.
Bella spends time writing and sketching in her notebooks, Edward sees a sketch of a man he later recognizes as the man who shot Elizabeth. He later tells Carlisle but at this point he thinks Bella is mistaken. That Alistair is a friend, Aro initiated him. Edward’s not convinced and I think Carlisle is starting to put pieces together that he doesn’t want to tell Edward about just yet.
Edward meets with Ben for the drug deal and asks him how he handles this double life. Ben explains it’s not easy but that the end justifies the means. He lies to Angela because he thinks ignorance is bliss and as long as she doesn’t get hurt, he’s alright with the way things are for now. In other words, he needs the money, he does what he has to do. Ben is almost done with this life, having the money he needs to pay for law school. And after this conversation Edward has a sense of resolve, that he too can accept this life, do what he has to do. He does not like the situation, but he will accept it.
Things start to feel better as the house starts to fill with the return of everyone for Christmas. There’s the brother”s rough housing, Rosalie bitching, Esme being motherly and even the watching of Jeopardy. Jasper tells Edward his offer of helping him with Bella still stands. The police show up to talk to Bella about Jacob’s disappearance. She handles it well, only giving information to convince them that Jacob had decided to move on. Bella’s got this Principessa down already, don’t you think? Carlisle and Alec would be proud.
E/B have yet another tense conversation where Bella explains how she’s to blame for all this, Jacob’s death, his joining, Elizabeth’s death...Edward says she is not and it was his choice to join so she would be free. She says, “Am I free, Edward?” She explains she doesn’t even know what free means. That now neither one of them is free because he isn’t. This point right here, has always been my feeling too. It’s the reason I asked Khar if she’d ever consider changing things for Edward...more on that another time. All of this is messing with Edward’s head. The next conversation with Carlisle tips the scale and makes him determined to make the ultimate sacrifice. Edward gets a phone call from Aro saying he has to come back to Chicago, that it’s time for his new life to begin full force. He finds Carlisle talking, he just knows his father is up to something to maybe help this mess they all were in, me I was hoping Carlisle would clean up the mess too. Edward asks his father if he regrets initiating. He says no, that doing that for Elizabeth, besides having his sons, was the best thing he’d ever done. Edward says he’s not regretting his decision either but he feels like he fucked up. Carlisle tells him he feels the same way, that he took Elizabeth from one dangerous world into another. He says the biggest mistake was (get this, you know Edward will...) not letting her go and so she never really got to experience the world free of who she had been. Edward says she would never have left him and Carlisle agrees but that he feels she should have been given a choice to be with him, not because she had no other options. Sound familiar? Exactly E/B’s relationship. Carlisle gives Edward the key to the Chicago house. He reminds Edward that he is partly his mother’s child so he should follow his heart as to what the right thing to do is. He decides at that moment not to be selfish anymore, every single thing coming together showing him what he’s supposed to do. He goes to his brother, and at this point we don’t know which brother, and says I need to take you up on the offer. I guess it’s to support him and Bella in this yet another of, in my opinion, Edward “fuck ups.”
Chapter 74 BPOV The Garden of Simple
This chapter digs at me, it guts my insides like no other chapter I’ve ever read, including New Moon when Edward leaves Bella. It has stayed with me since last August when I read it, exactly one year ago. This chapter is so well written so as to invoke that place in you where sadness lives. I both hate it and love it. So here goes...
Edward knows what he’s about to do, that’s the killer, he knows and wants to make this time with his family and Bella a time to remember for her. It’s Christmas day and Esme and Bella begin a conversation about how Edward is not like the men he’s about to live among. Esme explains that she understands, that men like Alec, Carlisle and now Edward don’t lose their goodness, the Edward she loves will not disappear. He will change, secrets will be kept. That he will need her to be his sanctuary from that evil world, and that she hates what her husband does but she understands why he does it. And that Bella’s love is still what’s needed to save Edward from drowning, as she’s been doing. Alec comes in and says his wife needs to mind her business that Edward is an adult and what he chooses to do in private is the only part of his life that is his own to control. Alec explains to Bella what his vouching for her means, that she needs to keep all their secrets and that he is responsible for keeping her safe. He tells her not to worry about Edward, he’ll adapt and that the truth is no one is either all good or all bad and that he’s just now learning that himself. I think Bella and Edward are helping our made man here open up a little, he’s showing some feelings! Yes?
Edward walks in with his pants slung low with that shit grin, teasing his family about Santa not coming here anymore and that all of them are on the “fucking naughty list.” Got to love Edward. The family starts talking about not having a tree and so they wake up the boys and out they all go to find the perfect tree. All of these seemingly little details, getting the tree, Edward leaving the money to pay for it, the teasing like old times, Edward asking Bella if she likes his car and she does because it’s his, Emmett looking like Paul Bunyan... It all pulls at your emotions and makes what’s about to happen even worse.
Christmas dinner starts with Dr. C praying for love and forgiveness and then...he asks God to “...help the innocent among us find the freedom they deserve.” Everything’s going good, this could work, Bella’s feeling stronger and then Edward does the unthinkable. He helps makes the prayer come true for Bella, the innocent achieve the freedom he thinks she needs. Stupid little shit...
Did you like Emmett’s proposal to Rosalie? I liked how he began by wishing his mother were there to see what he was about to do.
Bella is getting the vibe that everyone is on a secret, they seem a little sad and it’s starting to worry her. Especially when Esme cryptically says, “He really loves you, you know. Just never forget that, no matter what.” I guess she’s decided to listen to Alec and mind her business and not tell Bella what she knows is about to happen.
I don’t know about you all, but at this point when I first read this, I didn’t see exactly what was about to happen. I thought it was maybe Edward was going to run with Bella, I thought the brother who was helping was Emmett and that he was going to help them run. He took my breath away when I read the next part. How about you? Did you suspect?
Then Bella hears them arguing and Emmett says it’s not too late to change your mind. And too please change his mind for all of them. He questions whether Edward can live with his choice and Edward says, “I have to.” Bella hears Jasper support Edward’s decision and Emmett saying it’s bullshit.
I’m with Emmett, although I understand Edward’s intentions, I think he was wrong to do it this way. What about you? Think Edward was right?
Ok, here goes. The scene that I can picture perfectly in my mind’s eye and when I do, it makes me so utterly sad. Bella falls asleep, she’s awaken confused and sees Edward sitting up on the couch looking out the window. The moonlight on his face as he looks so lost.
He tells her he had a dream, of Bella painting a picture of the meadow so beautiful and it’s displayed in a museum (I think Edward’s a little Alice like here, right?) She laughs and says she doesn’t know how to paint, and he says you could learn, would you want to he wonders. He tells her she is capable and has talent to do whatever she wants to do. He asks her first if he can smoke some pot, and then they have a sensual sharing, shot gunning again. They play the 21 question game again, he seems to want to find out even more about her. She tells him she understands him, and he says he knows, and that she is the only one who ever did understand the real him and he thanks her for that.
He notices it’s snowing and they go out into the night, sharing something magical as the snow creates a beautiful, romantic backdrop. I can’t think of dark snowy nights now without thinking of this scene, of them alone, with Edward knowing what he’s about to do and how devastated he must be feeling. She says it’s beautiful and says that they could enjoy the snowy Chicago winters together too. Edward just sadly smiles knowing that’s not going to happen.
Edward hugs her, snow falls on them and he hums 18th Floor Balcony, their song and his voice cracks when he sings, “I’ll keep you in my dreams.”
On one hand he feels like a shit making love to her knowing what he’s about to do but he could never deny her. And so they share something truly raw and passionate and so intensely intimate. It’s as if they melt together. The last thing he says to her before she falls asleep is, “I meant it, Bella. I’ll keep you in my dreams.”
She awakes and all she’s left with is a letter. That letter did me in. From the FDR quote of how freedom can’t be bestowed it had to be achieved...He told her he was sacrificing his happiness so she could/should go out and live and find hers. He didn’t want her to be with him just because it was the only thing she knew. He wanted her to go out and be free to know other ways to be. That he meant everything he’d ever said to her and that none of this was her doing, and to go out and make them all proud...
As if the letter wasn’t bad enough, she also has to leave the only home she’s ever felt safe in and all the while her heart is shattering into a million pieces. She feels what she is, abandoned. Jasper tries to convince her she doesn’t need him, that she can go on without him.
She begs Carlisle to make him come back but he says he can’t. She’s left with no choice but to endure it, the pain of losing Edward. Jasper tells her the plan of coming with him to Settle, that he’ll help her and that Carlisle said she could stay as a guest as long as she likes. She’s scared, she tells Jasper she doesn't know what she’s doing and he tells her none of them do, that’s what real life is all about finding your place in it.
She packs up and takes photographs, books, drawings, notebooks, the basket from Valentine’s Day, the necklace, and Edward’s football shirt that he gave her on that first day. Carlisle takes her to have the chip removed. He stays with her and holds her hand as the chip is removed. Carlisle asks her about the time she was held captive. He’s up to something for sure. She tells him things he didn’t know, she tells him about Stephan being Emmett’s real father and he’s happy she didn’t tell Emmett this, as he would not want to know. I don’t think they ever tell Emmett about his real father. Do you agree is was best not to tell him?
So the chapter ends with Bella alone in their room, their little bubble, their safe haven, their home. She looks at the picture of the two of them, kisses Edward’s face and says goodbye to a future Edward decided for her, one she never wanted. He took away the one thing she desired, him.
Chapter 75 EPOV Hole in the World
I love how this chapter begins with Edward’s counting the 1 and 1/2 years, hours, minutes, “and about 24 motherfucking seconds later...not like I was counting or anything..”
That just about says it all as to how he’s coping, he’s not. Esme’s not happy with his drinking and drug use.
Edward’s sick of everyone on his case about it, as at this point he’s pretty depressed and was suicidal as well. Who wouldn’t be right? He’s living a life he’s not made for, dealing with the scum of the earth, watching murders, and involved in creating it all. He’s ashamed, he knows both his mother and Bella would not have wanted him to be part of all this, yet here he is. The worse of course is not having Bella with him to save him from drowning in this mess.
Edward reassures Esme that he’s done with “Molly” and that he’s gotten his act together the best way he can. (I really thought Molly was a woman, did you at this point?)
He’s going to college for music education but he’s struggling with his mob way of life getting in the way. He starts to remember that December morning he left Bella and how much the pain of losing her can still bring him to his knees. It’s really pitiful when he remembers talking to Jasper and saying how this isn’t how it should have been. They should be getting ready to go to CA, to school just because Bella likes palm trees, and he never wanted to hurt her. He wants Jasper, who is the most like his mother, compassionate to do whatever it takes to help her get over the pain he’s about to inflict on her. Jasper promises to be there for her. Something Jasper later regrets not being able to do well enough.
The most, emotional parts of this family coming apart at the seams is when Emmett goes off on Edward. He gives it to him good. Saying he better come to his senses and change his mind about leaving her. That she is the best thing that ever happened to him, that he will never survive without her. Edward tells him he’s doing it to free her. Here’s the point where I so agree with Emmett; “Then why the fuck are you taking that away from her? ...did you even fucking give her a chance to tell you what she wants to do? You’re making this choice for her. ...What gives you the right...Could you possibly be more condescending? You’re not giving her enough credit. you arrogant prick...maybe she is better off without an asshole like you” See I agree with him Emmett, but it’s Alec that clinches the argument once and for all, and I guess I have to give it up for his take on all this. That neither one of them knows what they’re talking about, that we all have choices taken from us...that it doesn’t matter what Edward does that day, that Bella will have choices taken from her and they aren’t all Edward’s doing. He goes on to say, that they talk about freedom like word alone has some meaning, “when in fact freedom is what you make of it...Edward isn’t deciding Isabella’s future, he’s deciding his own, and the unfortunate effect ...is that Isabella loses something, a part of life we all have to deal with...”
What do you think? Who, Alec, Emmett, or Edward’s wins in this pissing contest? Alec tells Edward to more or less shit or get off the pot. Edward stands firm and Emmett tells him not to expect him to be there when he falls apart.
Edward sacrifices, moves to Chicago and tries to do what is expected of him as a made man. But he’s so lost and alone and out of place.
Edward tells about the only thing that made the hole in his chest feel any better was “Molly” and yes as I said, when I first read this I thought Molly was a woman. Is it terrible of me to admit I was happy to find out “Molly” was in fact ecstasy rather than Edward going back to his man hoor days?
It’s glossed over some, but Edward was so depressed, even suicidal that he accidentally OD’s on some tainted drugs. Edward learns his lessons, Alec and Aro try to teach him respect and he realizes his actions got Phil, his drug dealer killed because Alec doesn’t put up with drugs in his clubs and of course for revenge and teaching a “lesson.” This reminds Edwarad he did the right thing getting Bella away from this life, where she might have suffered from Edward’s mistakes too.
Edward and Emmett make up during Emmett’s bachelor party when Emmett realizes he may have been wrong, as Bella seems to being doing ok away from this world. That Bella did just what Edward had hoped for, she flew away from them all and that they’ve lost touch with her. Edward finds some comfort in the fact that he hadn’t completely fucked up by letting her go. But Emmett knows how rough it’s been for Edward and he doesn’t say I told you so because he sees how rough it’s been for him.
The rest of the chapter goes into more of Edward’s new mob life. Alec finds Victoria and her father and ends up killing them for their part in Bella’s abduction and we get more information on who Alistair is. Also, for me, it was interesting to learn some of the Chicago mob history. Alec did a good job explaining the Irish, Italian and Russian connections.
The chapter ends with Alec being called away on some personal business and Edward has a feeling it has something to do with Bella...
So I apologize for the size of this monster. I tried my best to shorten it. I hope you enjoyed my picture walk as well. I used pictures I felt expressed the tone and setting of these chapters.
Let me know your thoughts and let the comments fly!
Next week will be chapters 76-78