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While Edward drives Bella home, he tells her his story. He was born in Chicago in 1901, and in 1918 he was in a hospital dying of Spanish influenza when Carlisle “saved” him by turning him into a vampire. He explains that Carlisle only saves people who are already dying. Edward was the first person to join Carlisle’s family, and Carlisle later found and saved his partner, Esme, when she fell off a cliff. He brought Rosalie into the family to be Edward’s partner, but Edward views Rosalie like a sister. Rosalie found her partner, Emmett, being attacked by a bear. Alice, who has the gift of seeing future events, “saw” Jasper alone and knew they should be together. Alice then had a vision of the Cullens, and she and Jasper joined them. Despite her gift, Alice doesn’t know where she’s from.
Back at Bella’s house, Edward admits that he spies on Bella almost every night and hears her talking in her sleep. When Charlie comes home, Edward disappears. Upstairs in her bedroom, Bella finds Edward lying on her bed. As they touch, Bella notes that it seems easier for Edward to be near her, and Edward says that he suspects this may be because he is temporarily desensitized to her scent. Edward admits that this is the first time he’s been in love. He reveals that he felt jealous when Mike asked Bella to the dance and says that on the first night he spied on her, he overheard her sigh Edward’s name in her sleep. When Charlie peeks in to make sure Bella didn’t sneak out, Edward disappears, and Bella pretends to be asleep. Later, Bella broaches the subject of marriage with Edward, but says he doesn’t think that’s possible. He sings Bella to sleep.
Edward is still in Bella’s room when she wakes up. The night before, Charlie had detached Bella’s truck’s battery cables to keep her from sneaking out, and he reattaches them before leaving for work. Edward invites Bella to meet his family and asks if he can meet Charlie, saying that Bella should tell her father that she’s now dating Edward. Bella dresses up to meet the Cullens and is nervous that they might not like her. When Edward sees her, he kisses her, and she faints in his arms.
They drive to the Cullens’ beautiful home in the woods. Carlisle, Esme, and Jasper are polite and friendly, and Alice is warm and enthusiastic, but Emmett and Rosalie aren’t there. After Edward plays a song on the piano that he wrote for Bella, he explains that because Alice has foreseen other vampires coming into the area, he’ll need to be more protective of Bella. Bella is surprised to see a cross in the house. Edward explains that Carlisle carved it when he was human. He explains that Carlisle, who is currently 362 years old, lived in London and was the son of a pastor who hunted witches, werewolves, and vampires. When Carlisle was twenty-three, he was chasing a vampire who turned on him and attacked. Carlisle dragged himself off and died, becoming a vampire himself.
In Carlisle’s office, Edward tells Bella about more about Carlisle’s background. After being bitten by the vampire, Carlisle tried to kill himself by starving himself of blood. He resisted the urge to feed on humans and went as far away from them as possible. One night, weak from hunger, Carlisle attacked a herd of deer and realized he could live off animal blood. He began to study, first in England and then throughout Europe, and found his calling in medicine. After 200 years, Carlisle obtained total control over his urges. When Carlisle was in Italy, he met a group of refined vampires, but they tried to persuade him to drink human blood, so he came to America in the hopes of finding a companion. Carlisle was working in a Chicago hospital during the flu epidemic of 1918 when he found Edward. Knowing that Edward was dying, Carlisle changed him. Edward admits he rebelled for a time and went off by himself, but after a few years he returned to Carlisle and committed to his way of thinking. Edward then shows Bella his room, filled with his music collection. He playfully “attacks” her. Alice and Jasper enter, joking about sharing Bella for lunch.
Edward's telling of the Cullen family's history answers several of Bella's lingering questions about vampires and reveals more reasons for Edward's inner torment. While Edward views himself as a monster, his stories show a family who has always chosen good no matter how difficult the circumstances. Carlisle, for example, must show extreme self-control to turn dying humans into vampires without killing them, and he has cut himself off from other influential vampires by choosing not to hunt humans. All of the members of the Cullen family have acted immorally at one time or another but have since chosen a moral path. Edward can see that about his family members, but not about himself. Part of Edward's negative self-perception stems from his initial resistance to Carlisle’s vegetarian lifestyle and his deep fear that he will not measure up to Carlisle’s moral certitude in moments of great temptation.
While Edward becomes more comfortable being near Bella, his words suggest he still doesn't truly believe that they can be together. He insists marriage is out of the question. Yet his behavior begins to again resemble the lovesick teenager rather than the powerful vampire. While Edward still fears that he can never truly have a relationship with Bella, he allows himself to enjoy some of the rituals of young love, such as showing Bella his room, talking with her about music they both enjoy, playing her a song he wrote, and sharing a first kiss.