The Cullens like to play baseball. The sound is thunderous when they bat the ball, so they play during thunderstorms on a meadow high in the Olympic Mountains. Far from humans, the sound of their game is hidden behind cracks of lightning. Because they can run much faster than people, the baseball diamond is very large; sometimes, runners and fielders collide, the sound of their marbled bodies striking one another like boulders crashing together. Bella attends a game and notices the playful enthusiasm of the Cullens. The event humanizes the vampires, making them seem accessible to Bella and to the reader.
Looming in the background of Bella and Edward’s relationship is blood—her blood, which entices Edward. The more he loves her, the more he wants to drink her blood. Bella, meanwhile, has a trait rare among humans: She can smell blood’s rusty, salty aroma, and it nauseates her. When the vampire James attacks her, her scalp gets sliced open, and her blood pours down. Dr. Cullen stitches her back up while Edward sucks James’s poison from her hand. Edward manages to resist the temptation to finish her off; he thereby passes the toughest test of his relationship with Bella—protecting her despite extreme temptation.