So many readers are appalled by Carlisle’s comment in the last chapter. In the context of wine tasting, it isn’t the blatant affront it seems to be. Most wine aficionados spit when tasting to avoid getting drunk, therefore retaining his or her palate longer. That Izzy swallows is somewhat unusual, and in that context, bears mention.

Was Carlisle aware of the double entendre? Of course—thus his smile before saying it. Was it an oral sex reference without any relevance to the conversation? Absolutely not.

As far as Carlisle goading Edward is concerned, context is everything here. Unlike Edward who knew of Carlisle’s existence if not his identity, Carlisle had no idea he had half-siblings out there or that his father lives three miles away from him and has no desire to meet him. Sure, we know Carlisle’s probably better off not knowing the man, but that doesn’t make it hurt less. What he’s going through won’t be explored in depth here—after all, this isn’t his story. But if he wasn’t occasionally snarky, his characterization wouldn’t ring true.

Meanwhile, Edward didn’t exactly take the high road. His comment about not understanding what Izzy sees in things? He was talking about Carlisle. One reader described it as a ‘pissing contest’, and she was dead on. We have two very successful men, both of whom want what he perceives the other has. In Carlisle’s case, it’s acceptance from their father—not Izzy. He’s quite happy with Esme.

From Chapter Twenty-Four:

“Let me explain this to you.” He rests his hands on my shoulders. “I’m older than Edward, therefore it’s impossible for him to be my dad. It just doesn’t work that way. You should go to bed–”

“I already have…”

“Right. Uh…”

“…with both of you! It makes me feel like such a slut to tell you this, but you have to know–”

“Whoa.” He waves his palms at me. “I’m married, Iz. Esme is my life, and I’m not comfortable with where this conversation is going. As much as I love you–”

“I love your brother.”

“What the fuck did you do, drop acid before I got here? I don’t have a brother.”

For a moment there, he thought Izzy was hitting on him. And he wasn’t down with it.

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4 Responses

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  1. on 21 Dec 2011 at 6:24 pmLinsey

    It’s the classiest pissing contest I’ve ever witnessed. I was embarrassed for her but it was purposefully placed. You never write anything that does not add to your story.

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  2. on 23 Dec 2011 at 3:59 pmjennaeve

    I wasn’t taken back by the “Izzy Always Swallows” statement, because I knew a little about wine tastings.

    I think it is really difficult to watch someone you knew as a naive freshman in college, to whom you gave her first kiss at 18, and see her and another man being so connected and intimate with their relations – even if it is just funny innuendo. Add in that you know they know each other carnally, and he is your half brother. Not only that, the half-brother who managed to get away from the father who essentially wrecked your chance with this girl the first time out by being so callous and demanding.

    Carlisle met Izzy during a different part of her life, more a woman broken by first love than the 18 virginal Bella who didn’t feel comfortable sleeping with Edward in the same bed, even without sex the first thanksgiving together. Edward needs to see Bella as his equal and be willing to be the man she needs – I always have thought that Bella needs to do the same thing, even if that means from time to time you temper your thoughts at your man’s work events, because you support each other.

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  3. on 05 Jan 2012 at 4:09 pmbelinda

    I totally agree with you about the pissing contest. And about Carlisle loving Esme. And about Edward and Carlisle each wanting acceptance from their father – even if they won’t say it out loud.

    But they are all only human. And because of that, to me, some of this pissing contest is about Izzy. She feels weird that she’s been with both of them, which to me is very her. And Edward is jealous, which is very him. And Carlisle can’t get to his father, but he can get to Edward and the best way to get to him is through Izzy. It’s a very adult situation that they, for the most part, handle well. But, they are only human. And on some level, as much as Carlisle loves Esme, it has to sting a little to know that not only has it always been Edward, but that Edward is his brother. And because we know the regret that Edward felt almost the minute Izzy left and that he has – in his own way – been pining for her for 10 years, then his jealousy at any man that she’s been with, much less his brother, makes perfect sense. And Izzy, realizing the “what if” of their 10 years apart, I’m sure feels some guilt and embarassment that she has intimate knowledge of the brother of the love of her life. Awkward.

    The one I felt the most concern for in this situation was Esme. Edward’s little moment with her was very telling. He gravitated to her I’m sure feeling a somewhat kindred spirit in that they were both not inside the Izzy-Carlisle bubble and privy to their insider conversation. Not to mention I’m sure he was curious how their unusual triangle worked. How do you feel when your husband and you are good friends with his ex and especially if the husband still feels so protective and territorial about the ex that he feels the need to practically pee on her to mark his territory.

    I love the dynamic of the situation. And now add Alice to the mix. What fun!

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    Valentina reply:

    Your comment made me so happy.

    [Reply]