The next day goes a little better. Bella does not feel quite so much as an outsider, now that she has Mike, Jessica, and Eric to talk to, among others, and people are not staring at her as much. Edward is not there, however, and even though Bella feared more of his hostile glaring, she finds herself disappointed by his absence. Mike is paying a lot of attention to her, however, and she worries about how to turn him down without alienating him and his friends.
After school, Bella goes grocery shopping, makes dinner, and e-mails her mother. Over dinner, she tells Charlie about her friends so far, and she asks him about the Cullens. When she mentions that they do not fit in at school, Charlie gets angry and explains that Dr. Cullen is a very talented surgeon and the children are all well-behaved—and the town is lucky to have them—so the Cullen children should be treated better.
The rest of the week goes by easily, and Bella worries that Edward’s continued absence from school is related to her. By Monday, however, he is back, and he seems somehow healthier. He also seems significantly less hostile when he catches her staring at him. In Biology, Bella is shocked when he introduces himself to her and is perfectly friendly.
Bella and Edward do a lab assignment together, and when their hands accidentally touch, Bella feels like she has been shocked. They finish their work more quickly than everyone else. Edward asks Bella why she moved to Forks if she hates the weather so much. She explains that after her mother remarried a minor league baseball player who travels a lot, she left the scene so that she would not be holding her mother back from traveling with him.
The next morning, Bella awakens to snow and ice covering the ground. She drives to school, and when she gets out of her truck, she hears a loud screeching sound coming towards her. She looks up and sees a blue minivan spinning out of control on the ice, coming right towards her. Without any time to get out of the way, she closes her eyes. She feels something hit her—and then sees Edward above her, holding his hand out to prevent the van from crushing her.
Everyone runs over, and Edward tells her he was standing right next to her all along, but she remembers that he was at least four cars away. Edward tries to convince her he was with her, but when she refuses to believe him, he promises to explain later if she just sticks to his story now. She agrees, and they are taken to the hospital. The doctors tell her that nothing is wrong with her, but before she is allowed to leave, Edward brings his father, Dr. Cullen, to meet her.
Dr. Cullen, who is also extremely handsome, tells Bella she can go, but first she asks to talk to Edward alone. She insists on learning how he saved her. He will not give her any answers right now, however, and they both leave the conversation very angry. Charlie takes Bella home from the hospital, and all she can focus on is trying to figure out what happened with Edward.
That night, Bella dreams about Edward—the first of many dreams about him. For the rest of her second week at school, Bella is the center of attention. Tyler Crowley, the driver of the van, desperately tries to make amends; he will not leave her alone. Bella tries to talk to Edward again—to thank him this time—but he is very cold to her again. She gives up, and they do not speak to each other for the rest of the week.
Jessica senses that Bella has first dibs on Mike, so Jessica calls her to ask her if it would be okay for her to ask Mike to the upcoming “girls’ choice” dance. Bella says that this is fine. The next day, Jessica says little to Bella, and her worries about what happened are confirmed when Mike tells Bella that he told Jessica he needed to think about it, in case Bella was going to ask him herself. Bella says that Mike should go with Jessica because she is going to Seattle that weekend. Mike seems disappointed but consents.
Edward finally speaks to Bella but only to tell her that it is better if they do not become friends. She accuses him of regretting having saved her life. He becomes furious and tells her that she knows nothing. When Bella leaves school that day, Eric is waiting for her by her car to ask her to the dance, and as she is pulling out, Tyler runs over to ask her too. She tells them both the same thing she said to Mike: she will be in Seattle. Edward sees the whole thing, and Bella sees him laughing.
The next morning Edward comes up to Bella after she parks her truck and offers to give her a ride to Seattle on that weekend. She asks him why he would offer that, particularly since he said he did not want to be friends with her. He says that he did not actually say that, only that they ought not try to be friends. He adds that he is sick of trying to stay away from her. She accepts his offer for a ride.
In these chapters, Bella’s relationship with Edward changes significantly. Although he shows nothing but unexplained hostility towards her in the first chapter, she still finds herself deeply dismayed when he is missing from school for a week. This situation hints further that their relationship s going to happen—the author has practically made it seem fated—even though she has never even spoken to him and he has only glared at her. Still, her days are ruined by his absence, and readers know to keep paying attention to Edward.
When Edward saves Bella from Tyler’s car under mysterious circumstances, this might provide a classic case of falling in love with one’s deliverer. Indeed, Edward plays the role of a superhero, with Bella thinking in Chapter 5 that he might be some kind of Peter Parker (Spiderman) or Bruce Wayne (Batman) in disguise. Meyer, however, does not make it so easy. Bella is more interested in what happened than in Edward himself, but Edward’s refusal to explain himself creates strong animosity between them. The time for their relationship to begin surely has not come.
In this section we also see Edward exerting self-control in staying away from Bella. We do not know why, but he makes clear that he thinks they should not even start a friendship. We see the potential for a relationship, however, when it turns out that his self-control is not strong enough to keep them apart. He can make sacrifices for Bella, but he cannot sacrifice being with her. Perhaps it is a kind of fate that he cannot avoid. Their love will ultimately be enabled by this profound self-control—for a reason we do not know yet—and it keeps him from becoming a monster—but this tension is exactly the problem right now. If he exerts too much self-control, their relationship will not even begin.
The idea of social dislike of those who seem different comes up again in this section. Although Bella is starting to fit in a little better, there are long-term consequences of seeming different; the Cullens do not fit in despite their long time in the school system. It is unclear, however, if they have kept themselves apart out of choice or if social disapproval has made them stick together in the corner. Although they are attractive, they seem rather different from the other students, and Edward as a habit or rule does not date anyone at the high school—again we do not know why. But when Charlie hears about the situation for the Cullens, his impassioned response suggests that he thinks the other students are at fault for ostracizing the Cullens, not that they might have chosen to remain separate. Charlie hates the fact that although they are well-mannered and Dr. Cullen is a very talented surgeon, the Cullens seem to be disliked just because they are different.
The theme of sacrifice also comes up in this section. The reason that Bella came to Forks even though she hates the weather and loved Phoenix comes out: she knew that her mother would be happier if Bella were gone (so that she could travel with Phil, her new husband). Bella chose to move to Forks even though she fully expected to hate it there, knowing that she would suffer in order to make her mother happier.
The way this information comes out reveals another important aspect of Bella’s and Edward’s nascent relationship. Although they have barely ever spoken, and until this class Edward has only shown hostility towards Bella, she still finds herself telling him what she has told no one else—simply because he asks. Bella is largely a private person, and later she seems to have little trouble lying about her relationship with Edward, but she is never able to lie to him—or even to evade anything he asks. For his part, by the end of the chapter Edward will put off his self-control for a while, taking the chance of asking her to let him drive her to Seattle. Since she accepts, the reader is prepared to see them take a positive step forward in their relationship, but with Edward’s secrets still the primary locus of conflict in the novel.
Finally, the fact that Edward and Bella are seated next to each other in a biology class has special meaning. Biology is about different kinds of organisms, yet vampires have no official place in biological classifications of life. They are not alive like mortals are, yet they (and, maybe, werewolves)are more like humans than perhaps any other beings. It is ironic that Edward is in a biology class, especially one where one of the exercises involves drawing blood. Also, in Chapter 2, the lab involves identifying stages of mitosis or cell division, a kind of asexual reproduction of cells. Vampires reproduce themselves asexually via bites. We wonder what this might mean for the sex lives of vampires--a theme which will come up later in the novel.