Edward would have returned to Bella as fast as he could. The passage that seals this for me is in new moon chapter 23 pp. 512- 515
While best read in context completely, I will give you the parts that I hope will recall the section to your mind while making the point for me….
He lifted his face to lock my gaze in his. “I’m not going anywhere. Not without you.”
I had to try. I had to do something, and it seemed like leaving was the only way.
….What I want and need is to be with you, and I know I’ll never be strong enough to leave again. I have too many excuses to stay-- thank heaven for that! Seems you can’t be safe, no matter how many miles I put between us.”
“I’m not as strong as you give me credit for,” he said. “Right and wrong has ceased to mean much to me; I was coming back anyway. Before Rosalie told me the news, I was already past trying to live through one week at a time, or even a day. I was fighting to make it through a single hour. It was only a matter of time -- and not much of it -- before I showed up at your window and begged you to take me back…..
….there was no distraction from the ….agony. My heart hasn’t beat in almost ninety years, but this was different. It was like my heart was gone-- like it was hollow. Like I’d left everything that was inside me here with you.”
What Edward tells us here about his feelings, behaviors, choices and decisions all tell us that had he heard her voice, it could only expedite what was already happening within him. He was on his way back to her. Then he learned she was dead only to be allowed a second chance? He was not going to stay away after nearly losing her permanently.
As for Bella, the girl never let go to start with and as she told Jake on the subject in eclipse when he asked her had she forgiven him for all that? “There was nothing to forgive.”
Nice research, Pinkie. Research usually trumps remembering.
So would Edward have really let Bella go if she would have chosen Jacob?
"I would let her go."
"Just like that?"
"In the sense that I'd never show her how hard it was for me, yes. But I would keep watch. You see, Jacob, you might leave her someday. Like Sam and Emily, you wouldn't have a choice. I would always be waiting in the wings, hoping for that to happen."
Is "begging you to take me back" and "waiting in the wings" a contradiction?
It sounds (to me) like Edward's love/need for Bella was at war with his resolve not to interfere. I don't see that as a contradiction.
Wouldn't his love/need for Bella still be warring if Bella was with Jacob? To me it seems clear that his resolve would have eventually crumbled. Do you think it would have still crumbled if he were "waiting in the wings"?
I have a lot of faith in Edward. I believe he wouldn't have crumbled unless Bella left Jacob and declared that Edward was indeed the only man for her.
Like you, I also have faith in Edward, but based on his lack of resolve that he is speaking about it made me wonder if Edward would really stay away. It seems that Edward would try really hard to stay away, but now not so sure that he actually would.
He was away from Bella for roughly 6 months and his resolve was breaking. And you believe that he can last years and years without begging her to take him back?
Yes, hopeless romantic that I am and the strong character Stephenie has written as Edward are my only proof. Some of her characters are immensely strong and keep on keeping on just to do and be good.
Do you agree with Pinkie's assertion that Edward would have quickly returned after hearing Bella's voice?
Or do you agree with your original statement (and my statement) that Edward would have stayed away?
I feel like I need to add that I do not think this should be my idea vs Pinkie's idea. That is not the point. This is a hypothetical question so there is no "right".
However I do feel like the two ideas are opposites. Either Edward has the ability to stay away or he doesn't. Edward is begging her to take him back OR waiting in the wings - not both. Reading the description that Edward gives about how he was feeling, and that he was ALREADY coming back, I tend to agree with what Pinkie said.
I don't think Edward was intentionally lying to Jacob about letting Bella go. BUT because Edward knew how it felt to let her go AND he knew that he was already caving in his resolve to be away from Bella (for only six months compared to 50 years of Bella's human life), a more honest answer would have been that Edward would TRY to let Bella go (but most likely not really do it).
My original answer was based on what Edward said about letting Bella go and this statement. It is part of the same conversation I quoted earlier.
Eclipse pg 499
"For over six months I was able to stay away to keep my promise that I wouldn't interfere again. I was getting close - I was fighting but I knew I wasn't going to win; I would have come back... just to check on her. That's what I would have told myself, anyway. And if I'd found her reasonable happy... I like to think I could have gone away again."
Looking at this statement in combination with the statement that Pinkie had posted, I now don't think Edward would have left or stayed away. It is what he would have "told myself" in order to come check on her. The underlined portions show that Edward really isn't even certain himself or is showing that what he is saying is more wishful thinking than reality.
Thank you, Barbara
Granted it is a hypothetical so there can be no absolute certainty for the reader, but the words from Edward makes clear in my mind, his intentions. It reads for me that his decision was made before ever hearing from Rose and that tells me that he wanted back into her life without it having anything to do with thinking she had died. Based on the time he'll expressed of his inability to stay away? How the time apart affected him? Then having believed she was dead from Rose? For him to learn in a call it was a mistake...that he was allowed her voice once more heard on the other end? Yes, I really believe the character I read him to be would had been elated and relieved he had not waited too long in his self imposed exile and he would return determined to do that begging he would tell her later he was still willful to offer! Yes, I really do believe that as he said the weaker part of him....the part that had lost all reasoning or need for right and wrong...the part that simply could not fight the power of his love for her any longer, would cause him to return to Forks....putting forth every effort he could to have her consider him once more. He would not know if she would be receptive of course, but I believe that he would do all he could to try to win her back. And again, we all know Bella was always ready to take him back. We see this in all her efforts to keep him in her thoughts after he left to include jumping off a cliff saying how she was doing so because he would not stay with her any other way. And again we saw how Bella felt in Italy when thinking Edward would leave as soon as he knew she was safe (leading her to do all she could to slow the process) and then telling him straight out that she loved him and there was nothing he could do about it.
I am not trying to convince anyone of my views of the story or that they must accept my thoughts of this hypothetical. I am just sharing how I interpreted the story. That said, I again appreciate that you were able to see some rationale to my opinions. So again....thank you.
which is my point entirely