- "There was this beautiful image, this boy, just glittering with light and talking to this normal girl. And the dream really was about him. She was also listening, as I was, and he was the one telling the story. It was mostly about how much he wanted to kill her ― and, yet, how much he loved her."
Isabella Marie Swan Cullen and Edward Anthony Masen Cullen are the main couple throughout the Twilight Saga. They are members of the Olympic coven and the parents of Renesmee Cullen. The saga mainly focuses on their relationship's development, starting with their first and dangerous encounter in Twilight to their eternal love in Breaking Dawn.
- "About three things I was absolutely positive. First, Edward was a vampire. Second, there was a part of him - and I didn't know how potent that part might be - that thirsted for my blood. And third, I was unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him."
- ―Bella's feelings for Edward.[src]
Isabella Marie Swan's parents divorced when she was three months old, after which Renée took Bella with her to Riverside, California, and lived there with Bella's grandmother for five years before moving to Phoenix, Arizona.
Bella did not fit in very well at school. She never had many friends, and spent a lot of time with her mother. She briefly took ballet lessons. Bella has visited Forks in her past to spend time with Charlie every summer. During these occasions, she also spent time with Rachel, Rebecca, and Jacob Black, the children of Charlie's friend Billy Black. She stopped visiting Forks at the age of fourteen. This was when she put her foot down, and Charlie went to California for two weeks every summer instead. Bella took care of her mother.
By the time Bella was seventeen, her mom had remarried to a minor league baseball player named Phil Dwyer. Phil traveled frequently due to his profession, and Bella noticed how much her mother wanted to follow him in his travels. To make it easier for them, Bella moved back to her birth town of Forks to live with her father.
- "You're the most important thing to me now. The most important thing to me ever."
- ―Edward to Bella.[src]
Edward Anthony Masen lived in the early 1900s as a human. He grew up in a very old-fashioned family life style. Edward wanted to enlist in the army during World War One, but that changed when he and his parents fell victim to the Spanish Influenza in 1918. His father, Edward Masen Sr., died in the first wave of the influenza. Before she died, Edward's mother, Elizabeth Masen, begged the doctor who was taking care of them, Dr. Carlisle Cullen, to do everything within his power to save her son. After Elizabeth died, Carlisle took Edward from the hospital, brought him to his house, and there changed him into a vampire, causing Edward to gain the ability to hear people's thoughts.
Edward went through a rebellious period at the beginning of his vampire life and left Carlisle and Esme in 1928. During his time as a nomad, he used his mind-reading ability to attack the worst people of society, thinking that as long as he was serving justice, it would not matter that he was feeding on humans. A few years later, he regretted this decision, returned to Carlisle and Esme, and renewed his commitment to drink only animal blood. Over the next 80 years, their family was joined by Rosalie Hale, Emmett McCarty, Mary Alice Brandon, and Jasper Whitlock.
- Main article: Twilight
- "And so the lion fell in love with the lamb."
"What a stupid lamb."
"What a sick, masochistic lion."
- ―Bella and Edward realize their feelings for one another. [src]
When Bella and Edward first meet in Twilight, Edward realizes that he is unable to read Bella's thoughts, which he finds frustrating for reasons he did not know at the time. Later he finds it difficult to be around her; because even though he is a "vegetarian" vampire, her blood is more appealing than anything he'd ever tasted. The compelling desire is so overwhelming that he considers killing her, as well as the twenty other surrounding students, to remove all living witnesses. He attempts to change his biology class to avoid being with her, but fails since every other class is already full. He believes her to be of interest because he cannot read her droll thoughts and dismiss her, as he has done for most of his vampire life. He temporarily runs away from her to Alaska, where he stays with the Denalis for a short while.
The day after he returns, he saves Bella from being hit by a van, exposing his superhuman strength and speed. Bella tries to confront him about it, but he refuses to tell her anything.
Edward becomes increasingly infatuated with Bella, and can't get her out of his mind. His infatuation with her reaches to the point that he sneaks into her room at night to watch her sleep. On the first night, while Bella is dreaming of Edward, she says his name in her sleep. Edward then realizes that he loves her, and tries to get close to her again. After yet again saving Bella in Port Angeles, Bella tells him that she knows about him being a vampire and that it "doesn't matter", proving that she loves him as well.
Edward takes Bella hiking to a meadow, a place he considers the most beautiful around the dank forest of Forks. Bella thinks the same. Here, he shows her what sunlight does to his body for the first time. The sight of Edward's sparkling skin dazzles Bella immensely.
Bella and Edward become closer, eventually beginning a relationship; Edward invites her over to meet his family who are excited to meet her, except Rosalie. She is later invited to their baseball game. During the game, danger reveals itself in the form of a visiting vampire coven consisting of Laurent, Victoria, and James. James tricks Bella into confronting him alone in a ballet studio she once went to as a child, and all of the Cullens come to her aid, destroying James before he can kill Bella. Bella spends time in a hospital with Edward constantly by her side, where he admits that his sister Alice saw a vision of Bella becoming a vampire. However, he is determined to keep her human, despite her wanting to become one.
At the end of Twilight, Edward takes Bella to the prom, despite her broken leg and angry protests. As the book ends, there is high tension between the couple over Bella's reasons for wanting to become a vampire, and Edward's reasons for wanting her to stay human, admitting that Carlisle is physically younger than Esme and proving that he would "love her at any age". The story ends with neither one of them winning the argument, but neither is giving in. Instead, they enjoy the moment together.
- Main article: Midnight Sun
In Midnight Sun, Edward describes how he became frustrated with his inability to read Bella's thoughts, his relentlessly overwhelming desire for her blood and his eventual discovery of love for her. After he saved her from the car accident, he witnesses Alice's vision of Bella's two potential futures: her ultimate fate caused by his lack of self-control, or her becoming a vampire. After that, he tries hard to stay away from her to avoid both futures, but finds it harder and harder to be away from her as time passes.
On one night, he sneaks into her room while she is sleeping and overhears her calling his name in her sleep: this causes him to realize how deep his feelings for her had become. After that, he gives in to his feelings and tries to get closer to her. Emmett comments that his brother has gone crazy because of Bella, while most of the rest are happy to know that he has found love in his life, except Rosalie who is jealous of Bella for being able to attract Edward in a way that she could not, despite her superior beauty. He is also constantly conflicted with his desire to be with Bella and his protective drive that makes him want to keep his distance for her safety.
- Main article: New Moon
- "This is the last time you'll ever see me. I won't come back. And you can go on with your life without any interference from me. It'll be like I never existed, I promise."
- ―Edward's goodbye to Bella.[src]
The next book in the series, New Moon, begins with Bella celebrating her eighteenth birthday. She is depressed because this is the day that she becomes physically older than Edward, who is perpetually 17. Edward invites her over to his family's house to celebrate. She receives a paper cut while unwrapping one of her gifts, and Edward's brother, Jasper Hale, tries to attack her.
As a result, Edward leaves Forks and Bella, telling her that he no longer loves her, because he thinks that leaving her is the best thing he can do for her. Bella then goes into an immense depression, and once "awakened", becomes closer to Jacob Black and he wants to be more than friends, but that's not what she wants. Jacob fakes being ill with mono, with Billy insisting he stay away from Bella. They argue, leaving Bella heartbroken. Jacob gives Bella succinct hints about what he is, and Bella discovers he is a werewolf. Bella soon finds out that when she is in danger, she can hear Edward's voice clearly in her mind. When wanting to hear his voice again, she attempts cliff-diving, and nearly drowns in the process. When Alice, who can see into the future, sees her jump, she believes that Bella has committed suicide, and travels to see Bella and see for herself. Edward, believing Bella to be dead from Alice's vision, loses the will to live and travels to Volterra, Italy to have the Volturi kill him, and end his misery without Bella.
When they prevent the Volturi from killing Edward, he begs her forgiveness, tells her that he loves her, had always loved her and always will, and promises to never leave her again. Bella forgives him entirely and becomes completely normal again, as if Edward had never left Forks. Later, after his family votes in favor of Bella becoming a vampire, Edward agrees to do it himself if Bella will marry him first. Bella is still worried that if Edward doesn't turn her into a vampire she will continue to get older while Edward will be seventeen forever. She is also outraged that he refuses to turn her just because he wants to protect her soul.
- Main article: Eclipse
In the next few months, Edward visits Bella through curfew hours and then sneaks into her room at night.
When Eclipse begins, Bella receives a letter from Jacob, saying that he misses her too, but that it doesn't change anything. She is saddened by this, but Edward visits her, and her mood greatly improves. Initially banned from going inside the house, Edward is now allowed entrance for limited amounts of time, under orders of Charlie, but he ignores this by sneaking into her room every night.
Later, while Bella is visiting Jacob, he admits that he is in love with her, and forcefully kisses her, saying that she must either have him as her boyfriend or not at all. Bella is furious with Jacob for this, and nearly ends their friendship.
Meanwhile, Bella still has her heart set on joining Edward and his family as a vampire. But, after some consideration, she decides that there is one thing she would like to do while human: have Edward make love to her. Edward immediately refuses this "demand", explaining that although he wants her as much as she wants him, he could easily kill her if he lost control. Bella insists that he would never allow himself to let that happen. Eventually, Edward agrees that they can "try", but she must marry him first. Bella reluctantly agrees, because of her parents' early divorce, and becomes Edward's fiancée.
Moments before Bella's graduation, she realizes that the army of newborn vampires are under the control of Victoria and therefore will be coming after her. Having no other allies, since the Denali family will not help due to Irina's hostility towards the werewolves for killing Laurent, the Cullens and the La Push pack of werewolves join forces to battle Victoria and her army. Before the battle, Jacob informs Bella that he will go in battle, intending to die since she won't love him back. Bella tells him to kiss her so he will think she loves him back, but as she kisses him, she realizes that she loves Jacob as well. She also recognizes that her love for Jacob has no comparison to the love she holds for Edward. Once the battle is over and Victoria and her army are defeated, Bella visits Jacob and tells him of her decision to stay with Edward.
That night, Bella breaks out in tears for having to reject Jacob and Edward comforts her. Bella later decides to let Alice arrange the wedding and be her maid-of-honor. Edward realizes how much she is giving up for others and decides to repeal his conditions except for the wedding, but Bella is determined to do everything right: marriage first, make love, and then become a vampire. At the end of the story, they agree to tell Charlie about their engagement.
The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner
- Main article: The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner
Bella and Edward appear at the end of The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner, after the battle ended. Edward stands protectively in front of Bella while guarding the thirsty newborn Bree. They mostly remain in the background listening on Bree's interrogation and destruction by the Volturi, although Bree secretly provides Edward with everything she'd already known about her creator and the Volturi's interaction.
Bella later questions what she might go through if she does become a vampire, though she is still determined to be one.
- Main article: Breaking Dawn
- "How many times had I stared at Edward and marveled over his beauty? How many hours - days, weeks, of my life had I spent dreaming about what I then deemed to be perfection? I thought I'd known his face better than my own. I'd thought this was the one sure physical thing in my whole world: the flawlessness of Edward's face. I may as well have been blind. For the first time, with the dimming shadows and limiting weakness of humanity taken off my eyes, I saw his face. I gasped and then struggled to find the right words. I needed better words."
- ―Bella, upon seeing Edward for the first time after she became a vampire.[src]
At the beginning of Breaking Dawn, Bella and Edward are married in a beautiful ceremony orchestrated by Alice. Edward and Bella ask Mr. Weber to change the words, "till death do us part" to the more appropriate "as long as we both shall live". After they are wed, Bella and Edward share their customary first dance during the reception. He comments on how "heart-breakingly beautiful" she is and frequently addresses Bella as Mrs. Cullen and his wife. Jacob comes to their wedding and when Bella insists that she can have a "real" honeymoon, he is upset, as he believes Edward will kill her if they make love while she is still human and threatens to kill him. Seth and Sam are forced to take him away from the reception.
Edward takes his wife to Isle Esme for their honeymoon, where they consummate their marriage. The next morning, Edward is horrified that he has bruised most of Bella's body with his hard skin and strength. He refuses to make love until she is turned into a vampire. However, Bella convinces him otherwise after waking from a dream so good that she cries, wanting it badly to be real. She pleas with Edward to realize her desire and he gives in.
Bella soon after feels a bump on her belly and misses her period. She then realizes she is pregnant with Edward's child. Her pregnancy progresses at an extremely fast rate, and she becomes very sick. She can't digest her food, as she vomits most of it, and is dying, for the baby is part vampire and not accepting food that Bella eats and therefore starving her. Also, the baby inside of her is so strong that it has been accidentally breaking her ribs. Edward asks Jacob to help him convince her to kill the baby that is killing her, but Bella refuses, because she has already developed a love for her unborn child. Edward also tells Jacob that if she wants kids, she can have "puppies" with him. Jacob then has a thought that "the monster craves blood", and Edward is intrigued by the idea. They let Bella sample human blood, and she finds it appealing, and she is almost instantly revived when she drinks it. Throughout the pregnancy, Bella drinks gallons of blood to sustain herself and the baby. Near the end of the pregnancy, Edward begins to hear the baby's thoughts, and when he hears that the baby "absolutely adores Bella", his hatred for it is replaced by newfound love. Jacob remarks that Edward could never hate anyone who loved Bella, which is why Edward does not hate him.
Edward delivers the baby when Bella unexpectedly goes into labor. She names their child "Renesmee", and Edward injects her heart with his venom, turning her into a vampire. Jacob imprints on Renesmee, unknown to Bella until she is immortal. During her transformation, Edward stays by her side, refusing to leave the room.
After Bella's transformation is complete, she surprises everyone, including herself, with extreme amount of maturity and self-control for a newborn; when Edward takes her out for her first hunt, they cross a human scent. Rather than going for the kill, Bella freezes and runs away, which amazes Edward, and even more Jasper. Bella is also happy to finally be Edward's equal and that he no longer has to hold back his feelings and strength for her safety.
Later on when Edward explains what had happened to their family and Jacob while she was converting, they are all in shock. Bella, Edward and Renesmee are given a cottage as a gift from their family. Jacob does them a favor by telling Charlie about the supernatural world without mentioning vampires, and telling him to accept that Bella is different now. When Charlie comes to accept her change and Bella exerts enough control to avoid hurting him, they are all allowed to stay longer in town, much to Bella's pleasure.
After a vampire named Irina mistook Renesmee for an immortal child: a creation that is forbidden in the vampire world, the Volturi set out to destroy the Cullens as punishment for the alleged transgression. In hopes to prevent this threat, their family gathers allies from many places to witness that their child is not a full vampire and poses no threat to their existence. In the meantime, Bella uses the remaining time to learn fighting skills and how to shield other people with her power, while also secretly forging legal documents to save Renesmee in case they had failed to stop the Volturi. Edward is mainly busy tending to their house guests, but he also finds time to volunteer as Kate's subject to help Bella learn to control her power.
When the Volturi arrive, Edward is to present the evidence due to his telepathic power that allowed him to access everyone's mind. Bella becomes so furious at the situation (having to watch Edward walk into danger while she is forced to stay behind and protect their daughter) that she immediately asserts absolute control over her shield. Though they and their friends manage to convince the Volturi that Renesmee is not an immortal child, her existence is still claimed to be threatening. When the confrontation is about to turn into a fight, Bella and Edward say goodbye to their daughter and hand her over to their most trusted friend, Jacob. However, Alice and Jasper arrive in time to prevent the fight from breaking out and present two prominent witnesses (Nahuel and Huilen), who manage to end the confrontation peacefully. Because Nahuel is a full-grown vampire hybrid, Bella and Edward learn about Renesmee's eventual maturity.
Once the Volturi leave the Cullens, Edward and Bella are free to live their lives in peace with their daughter.
At the end of the saga, Bella removes the shield on her mind to let Edward read her thoughts for the first time, which brings them even closer to each other. Though her removal is not perfect, she states that they have forever to work on it. In the movie adaptation, she first does this at the meadow months after their confrontation with the Volturi.
The saga concludes that the couple continue blissfully into their small but perfect piece of forever.