I'd be interested to hear your thoughts, Sean. I know you've done a little fanfiction yourself. Kayla solved the problem in her stories a different way.
I want to add this in about the "vampire to vampire" contact issue. I hope no one is having a problem with my style, if I'm working something out in my head I try to come up with my best argument and then just set it down. It can come off as me seeming to consider myself authoritative on an issue, but that isn't the case at all, it's just my style. I have been absolutely wrong about a great many things concerning TW, so I could be embarrasingly wrong about this.
I held to a theory of vamp to vamp contact being somewhat similar to human to human for a long time because BD appears to show us that. However, going back through the text I can see where SM was very coy in her language. Something truly being "soft" is more accurately something that is malleable like human flesh. But SM almost exclusively talks about softness as a quality that is perceived by Bella, not as a true softness that gives under pressure.
When Bella first awakens:
But Carlisle’s assumption brought the burn to the forefront of my mind. Suddenly, the dry ache was all I could think about, and the more I thought about it, the more it hurt. My hand flew up to cup my throat, like I could smother the flames from the outside. The skin of my neck was strange beneath my fingers. So smooth it was somehow soft, though it was hard as stone, too.
Here, Bella explains why vampire skin feels soft. More importantly, her own skin feels as hard as stone to herself. This is a rewording of her description of Edward's skin being like velvet over steel. This passage strongly implies that her skin is unyielding even to her own hand
. If the skin felt as hard as stone and yet still yielded to the pressure of her hand, wouldn't Bella have given us that tidbit? She could have said "So smooth it was somehow soft, my new skin hard as stone and yet strangely yielding to the contours of my fingers." In my opinion, she didn't say it because her skin didn't yield, and she would not have perceived her skin as being as hard as stone if it actually had yielded to her touch.
On the first hunt:
His lips crushed down on mine, but they felt soft. My lips no longer shaped themselves around his; they held their own.
This statement isn't definitive, depending on how you interpret it. Are Edward's lips actually soft or do they just feel soft? The "held their own" phrase leans pretty strongly towards a perception of softness while still remaining completely unyielding. If this contact was similar to humans, then the result wouldn't be Bella's lips holding their shape, it would be both of their lips shaping and yielding to each other. Bella's experience, then, wouldn't really be different as a vampire, it would be Edward's lips yielding to her that would be different, neither one's lips holding their shape. Bella's experience would be more as if Edward had suddenly become human to her.
The first night in the cottage:
"Miss what?” he murmured.
“All of it—the warmth, the soft skin, the tasty smell..."
"You are soft.”
His fingers were like satin against my skin, so I could see what he meant.
Bella here is clearly talking about perception. The "soft skin" she mentions is her skin yielding to his when she was human. Bella already knows that Edward feels soft to her and likely vice versa. Edward is confirming that the soft feel of her skin is sufficient for him, even as she knows her true softness has been lost. Bella doesn't say "I could see he was right (duh, I am still soft and yielding to his touch)", she says "I could see what he meant". It clicks in her head, "I feel soft to him as he feels soft to me."
If vampire to vampire contact is similar to human contact, then Bella's experience with Edward would be more akin to Edward entering the human world than Bella entering the vampire world. Bella's experience with her own self would be remarkably unchanged. She would not perceive herself as having the hardness of stone except when dealing exclusively with the non-vampire elements of the world. She would not be as concerned about losing her "softness". And she would have certainly brought it up explicitly (that's my opinion only). But SM never once gives us anything definitive to actually support that theory.
Stephenie is very clever, though, in the way she writes BD. Bella becoming a vampire is adjustment enough. SM doesn't want to throw too much at us. Introducing our couple as diamond-hard lovers making ticking sounds when they kiss was something to be avoided, it is disrupting to the romance and takes us out of the story. Too much information imparted here would also lead to questions concerning that night in the cottage, and SM would be forced to provide more detail. Instead, she is very coy in presenting the information, always highlighting how soft the skin feels whenever she also tells us how hard the skin is.
One other thing I thought was notable. Bella is literally fearless in her new world. She gives no thought at all to danger. She doesn't think twice about attacking that mountain lion or having its claws rake against her skin. There is no doubt in her mind that she is completely invulnerable. She doesn't ever have second thoughts. That is consistent with Bella being like a marble statue in her new world, even in her interactions with Edward. If she had actually felt truly soft to herself or to Edward, I'd think that would introduce some doubt in her mind. Bella doesn't act as if she is intellectually aware of her invulnerability but is getting some mixed signals and needs to test things out, she acts as if there isn't the slightest possibility or concept of even needing a test.
smitten_by_twilight wrote:I think that vampiric "soft" tissue could be as readily moved by other vamps as by oneself. A human can push up the corner of another human's mouth, but a jellyfish could not do that. Similarly, one vamp should be able to (so to speak) make a dent in another, push and indent the soft tissue at least a bit.
That was my interpretation for a long time. Since we are talking about impossibilities in any scenario, you have to pick and choose which one you can accept and which one you can't. Even if marble statues can walk and talk and appear to be human, they still can't make love unless something gives way, so we must be talking about some completely unknown physical laws applicable only to vampires. That makes the vampire sex conceptually understandable to us (diamond hard to everything else except other vampires), but still leaves some pretty massive problems for human to vampire sex (even for B&E).
Per Bella's comments the day after her honeymoon night, her pleasant exhaustion, and the extent of her bruising, I would say there was absolutely no "marble statue" difficulties in one area. One very specific thing functioned in a completely normal way. It isn't much of a leap to conceive that the Denalis also function in one area as "normal" enough to interact with humans. If that is true, then there isn't any technical need left for vampire to vampire contact being "as human" in order to explain sex.