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Bella dreams of her grandmother, Marie, who died six years go. Edward enters the dream and Bella realizes that the old and frail granny is her, while Edward smiles, forever seventeen.
It’s September 13, Bella’s eighteenth birthday. She still lives in Forks, Washington, with her dad Charlie and just spent the best summer of her life with Edward. The couple is still at an impasse when it comes to her transformation into a vampire, but she keeps pushing.
Alice has planned a birthday party for Bella at the Cullen house. She never got to experience a human birthday (see Alice’s "Character Analysis" in Twilight) and so pleads with Bella to not ruin her fun. Bella agrees to humor her. But no presents!
In the afternoon before the party, Bella and Edward watch Romeo and Juliet for English class. Bella loves it, but Edward thinks that Romeo’s rash actions ultimately caused the play’s tragic end. Yet, he envies humans for the ease with which they can commit suicide and tells Bella about his contingency plan, in case something would ever happen to her: "I would go to the Italy and do something to provoke the Volturi" (1.137).
Edward explains that the Volturi are a powerful vampire group in Italy, and that you don’t mess with them unless you want to die. Bella is furious. She makes him promise to never think or say anything like it again.
On the way to the home of the Cullens, Edward asks Bella if there really isn’t anything she wants for her birthday. Bella tells him the only thing she wants is for him to turn her into a vampire.
At the Cullens’ house, Alice has gone completely overboard with birthday decorations – big bowls of pink roses, a pink birthday cake, candles, more roses, and a pile of birthday presents awaits Bella.
Mortified, Bella opens a present and cuts herself on the wrapping paper. Overcome by the scent of her blood, Jasper launches at her. Edward fights him off but, in the process, Bella lands in a mess of shattered crystals, causing blood to now fully gush from her arm:
Dazed and disoriented, I looked up from the bright red blood pulsing out of my arm – into the fevered eyes of six suddenly ravenous vampires. (1.246)