Imagine falling in love with a peanut butter & jelly sandwich. That's the metaphor I used to explain Bella Swann and Edward Cullen to my children. At 11, M. loves to read. Since there is no sex until after marriage in the Twilight series & we love watching the series together, I encouraged her to read it. I tried to explain to them the pain Edward was in whenever he kissed Bella, the way he was fighting the urge every time he kissed her from tearing her throat out.
Imagine you're starving & your favorite food is PB&J. Imagine someone smears a peanut butter & jelly sandwich on your face and you have to keep your mouth closed because if you have a taste you might devour it. And that would be the biggest mistake you'd ever make. You'd never forgive yourself if you did that. That's how Edward felt when he kissed Bella. She smells that good, that appealing, that appetizing to him.
But its more than that. He doesn't just want to consume his Peanut Butter & Jelly sandwich. He wants to marry it. He wants to spend the rest of his life with it. He thinks about it constantly. He kills to protect it. He'll even let someone else he doesn't trust and who he KNOWS doesn't like him & who he KNOWS wants to eat his PB&J sandwich too spend time with his PB&J because he wants his PB&J to be happy.
That's how Edward loves Bella... (I haven't gotten into the mishmash of bloodlust & sexual lust that's also fueling Edward's love for Bella... I mean she's only 11)
Stephanie Meyer gets ripped by many readers for being an awful writer but she tapped into something primal when she put pen to paper to tell Bella & Edward's story. No matter how ridiculous it seems to Twilight haters (and there are legions of them out there), that quality of male possessiveness, that near violent need to guard Bella from harm (even from himself) is something lots of females fantasize about. Teens, tween & beyond. Because you can't sell millions upon millions of young adult novels if grown ups aren't buying & reading them too.
Happy Valentine's Day... Hope your sandwich is as good as Edward Cullen's.